Singing The Goodness of Bodies

This Body is Holy:
Singing the goodness of bodies.

by CMP contributing singer/songwriter Richard Bruxvoort Colligan

Click to open "This Body is Holy" on the CMP site. Free listening, doncha know.

Before we get into this, how do you feel about your body right now?

A weird thing to ask, right? Because for most of us, it’s complicated.

This song intends to honor our physical bodies— whatever they look like, however they function— and to celebrate them as they enact the body of Christ, the church.

Our Bodies, Our Selves

There is a unfortunate thread in many spiritual traditions, including the Christian tribe, to diminish the physical body in favor of “spiritual” things.

Sometimes we don’t like our bodies; they give us pain, anxiety and awkwardness. Plus, there’s a rumor that we shouldn't trust them— our brain, gut, hormones and sensations might get us in trouble.

When we emphasize “spiritual” things over physical ones, we have a huge blind spot for holistic health. At its least destructive, this thinking leads to not paying attention to our bodies. At its most monstrous, it allows neglect of people and makes violence more acceptable. It also stunts our generosity toward the plant and animal life with which we share a planet.

 How would my whole life have been different if I had been steeped in a culture that honors bodies as holy? As The Many's brilliant song, "These Bodies," sings, "Our flesh and bones, our hearts and hands are loved in every way."

Our theology about bodies matters.

The Presence of Christ on Earth

Many of you know I Corinthians 12, the church is a physical body with many diverse parts, each of them necessary and beautifully unique, each of them serving the good of the holy whole.

This is something almost no one believes.

At least, we sure don't live like it's true. When we disagree with folks on social media, for example, I Corinthians insist our different ways are fine, absolutely good. Yet more often than not we figure the difference means one of us is wrong, misguided or stupid.

But our uniqueness is essential. If we knew it to be true, imagine how humans would treat each other. Every day a Namasté-fest! Every person a transfigured, dazzling presence with whom we are honored to share presence.

I don't know if this is for you, but if you feel like it, maybe take a deep breath as you read the lyrics or listen to the song for free.

         This Body is Holy

         Verse 1:
         Time for working, time for play, time for rest
         Sacred rhythm, night and day, fully blessed

         This body is holy, holy, holy

         Verse 2:
         Single body, many parts; pure, diverse
         Each a holy work of art. We're the church

         Verse 3:
         Whole in all our different roles ringing true
         Tending body, mind and soul to renew

           Words and music by Richard Bruxvoort Colligan
           © 2018 (ASCAP) All rights reserved. Use with permission, please.
           Licensed via, CCLI and

My hope is a song like this might stir, stretch and inspire us. Does it belong in your church's congregational repertoire? This quiet little piece can function as a centering song, a call to worship, or a meditation at Holy Communion or a healing service.

What we sing matters! Bless your community's song.


Richard Bruxvoort Colligan is a full-time psalmist and contributing leader and songwriter for CMP. He unabashedly loves dad jokes.

This song and all other CMP songs with their related sheet music products are all yours when you join CMP. Click for how to become a CMP annual member.


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