Submitted by Lyn on Tue, 18/12/2012 – 18:36
Year C (2012-2013)
Bible Book: Hebrews / Hebreers
Chapter: 10
Verse: 1 – 10

Hebrews 10:1 – 10 explains why it was necessary for Jesus to take on our full human form in order to bring a perfect sacrifice for the human race. This “human form” the author of the text describes simply as “body” (vers 5 en 10).

In Answer 35 of the Heidelberg Catechism we learn that Jesus “took upon Himself the very nature of man, … like unto His brethren in all things, except for sin.” This reminds us that Jesus became human, in a human body, just like us, except for sin.

This text and the catechism make it clear that the body is important. In fact the human body was important enough to God that, in Jesus, He took on this form. What does this mean?
– Firstly, we are forever freed from any thoughts or opinions that consider the body less important.
– Secondly, we are called to take the physical suffering of our brothers and sisters seriously.

When using the injustice against Tamar as key to understanding some of the challenges of the HIV epidemic, Prof Denise Ackermann writes about the importance of taking people in their “full human form”, their bodies, seriously. I share a few quotes from this moving mediation:

“Our bodies encompass the totality of our human experience, our thoughts, our emotions, our needs and memories, our ability to imagine and to dream, our experiences of pain, pleasure, power and difference, as well as our beliefs and our hopes.”

“For women and children who are infected, the body is at the centre of political, social and religious struggles.”

“When, on the one hand, the body is seen merely as a vehicle for the soul or, on the other, as some kind of a trap, it has been maltreated, vilified and abused. This is an important clue for the churches to seize in the struggle against HIV/AIDS. Bodies are at the centre of this crisis, sick, poor and too often women and children’s bodies. The Gospel demands embodied acts of care, comfort, support and acceptance.”

(Tamar’s Cry: Re-Reading an Ancient Text in the Midst of an HIV/AIDS Pandemic. Denise M Ackermann, University of Stellenbosch.)

If we honour ourselves and others, we also need to honour our physical bodies, which were created and honoured by God.

To think About: How can we honour the bodies of our brothers and sisters who are ill? What should we avoid in our language and actions?

Based on a previous reflection by Rev Nelis du Toit

Author: van Rooyen L (Ms)
Language: English

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