Romans 8:6–11 (NRSV)
6 To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For this reason the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law—indeed it cannot, 8 and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
9 But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you.
Our Christmas proclamation rings true even in the season of Lent: “And the Word became flesh and lived among us” (John 1:14). Christ has come in our very flesh. “Flesh” is no longer a dirty word, for our flesh has been redeemed. The Spirit has come to dwell in our flesh, rattling through our tissue, being carried through blood vessels, entering the atmosphere through our breath.
For beings unable to escape our bodies, this is good news, rooting us in Jesus. Jesus, true God incarnate, carried this flesh and Spirit to the cross. He did not escape death, but stands now on the other side of it. Death cannot hold our bodies. We are alive in Christ. And we behold him, as Mary held him, full of grace and truth.
You, O God, have given us flesh and breathed your Spirit within us. Teach us to love our bodies and, in so doing, to love you. Amen.