Litany for Bodies

Though I'm not currently practicing, by education and training I am a Nutritionist (M.S.). I've long been interested in the connection of body and mind, and invested a lot of time learning and thinking about how to keep human bodies healthy. I think that how we care for our bodies has bearing on how we care for our spirits. By most standards, the general health of the average American praying person is declining, although there are various schools of thought as to how best to halt the decline. I think it's an important topic for our time that is often disregarded in dualistic (i.e., body/matter = bad, spirit/mind = good; therefore taking care of body/earth isn't considered worthwhile) theological perspectives. I think our bodies are worth praying into, and worth caring for. Jesus did, after all, go around healing them routinely.

God, we set ourselves once again under Your care.
You imagined us. You formed us. You gave us to ourselves.

We remember that our bodies are temples, where You will dwell if we let You.
We remember that we are not only spiritual beings, but also physical.
We remember that the state of our bodies often reflects the state of our inner persons.

We confess that we have at times misused our gift.
We confess that we have at times overindulged and polluted.
We confess that we have at times lazed about and given way to atrophy and inertia.
We confess that we have at times given over control and responsibility to other entities outside of our connection with You.
We confess that we have at times submitted to standards with which You have nothing to do.
We confess that we have at times been overly critical, and enslaved ourselves to appearances.
We confess that we have at times overlooked or undervalued the intersection of body and soul.

If we have allowed our temples to fall into disrepair, inspire us toward betterment.
If sickness we cannot control has overwhelmed or discouraged us, we ask for healing.
If addiction has motivated our actions, we surrender control to You, asking for help.
If we have been shamed, we look to you for identity and confidence.
If busyness has been our excuse, help us to re-prioritize.

We give thanks to You for our bodies.
We give thanks to You for Creation.
We give thanks to You for nourishment and for pleasure.
We give thanks to You for the goodness that comes with exertion.
We give thanks to You for rest and stillness.

We ask for good health in body, mind, soul, and spirit.

Help us to conduct our lives with balance, moderation, and thoughtfulness.
Help us to enjoy good food, that most intimate of connections with Creation.
Help us to enjoy sun, air, soil, and creature.
Help us to become comfortable in our skins and robust in our spirits.
Help us to steward our bodies well, and to regard them as the good art they are.