Date of Award

Fall 2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


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This research will demonstrate that bodily existence is essential to human nature and that Christian worship practices must go hand-in-hand with a sound understanding of human embodiment in order to be faithful to the essence of Christianity. The following thesis demonstrates that the biblical understanding is that humanity was created as a body enlivened by the breath of God and intended to be the sacred sanctuary where God’s presence will dwell. In the incarnation of Jesus Christ, God’s goal to make humanity the sanctuary for his presence is fulfilled. Jesus Christ is the image of God, who redeems and represents all humanity regardless of age, class, race, or gender. All humanity finds their ultimate destiny in union with Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit, by which those who believe are transformed into God’s dwelling place. The human body is where God is most directly present in creation, and thus must be accounted for in all reflections on worship and the Christian life. Ritual practices are proven to form human beliefs and behaviors in critical ways, requiring that liturgical rituals be carefully formed to faithfully shape Christians into God’s sanctuary. All ethnicities, classes, and genders are invited into the Church, and the liturgy must especially recognize the gendered experience that all people have of God, necessitating the representation of both women and men as leaders within the Church. Sacred architecture must be structured and organized to nurture and orient people towards an embodied engagement with God. If the sanctuary God is building in the Church is to be truly faithful, the essentially embodied existence of humanity must be unequivocally affirmed and guide Christian doctrinal, liturgical, and spiritual practices.