Thursday, June 14, 2012

Body Language

The body language of Christ.
Have you ever thought of that? We talk about what Christ said, we talk about what would Jesus do, and we talk about how Christians ought to behave. But I have never thought about the body language of Christ, of how he welcomes others into His presence, and how He helps them feel His interest, His love, His delight in who they are. He looks beyond their outward appearance, whether they look beautiful, clean, groomed, with polished manners. He looks into their personality, he looks into their heart and mind, and finds the soul. The soul looks different than the body, and many times I have been surprised by that. In my travels, I have met many people who in body, look rough, dirty, and unkempt. But their soul was so beautiful, their person inside was loving, gracious, and showing many of the characteristics of Christ.
Body language is how we communicate without words. We draw near if we are interested or loving, and we step back and tighten our muscles if we do not trust. We smile and look into the eyes if we like a person, or make limited eye contact and keep our mouth tight if we do not. There are a million ways we speak with our bodies.
It is a humbling thought, when I consider my habits and ways of speaking with my body. Frequently it an unconscious extension of my ideas and feelings about the other person. But sometimes, it is intentionally used to let them see how I really think or feel about them, and it is not always in Christ-like ways.
The body of Christ, what kind of language does it communicate? Does it seem to welcome intimacy? Does it seem to draw others into a conversation? What sort of body language did Christ use for us? The body of Christ is the church, and how does my church, or my temple within the church, communicate with others? So often, as a pastor's daughter, I have witnessed and heard of body language being used not to draw others near, but to shove them aside. Their body language was not one of love or acceptance.
And at the same time, I have witnessed many of these bodies, these temples within the church draw others in beautifully gracious ways.
It's something to ponder, this idea of Christ's body language. His person, His way of living with others and inviting them into His life and presence. And it's something to ponder, how my language should reflect this, and how the body language of the church should reflect this.
May I learn the body language of Christ, and may I use it to draw others closer to Him.  

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