Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Body and Soul

Body and Soul

January 18th, 2012 • Category: Healthy Living
Are you in the process of learning to live healthier? Maybe your New Year’s resolution was to eat better, exercise, or in some other way improve your physical health? Join us for the next few days as we offer scripture, insight, and encouragement to help on that journey.

Today’s scripture: 1 Corinthians 6:12, 19-20 (NRSV) (The Message) (KJV) What might God be saying to me?

My thoughts (Robert Ferguson):

I just had this vision of how easy it would be for all of us to make a mess of our sanctuary at LifeJourney Church. We could eat pizza in the sanctuary during service, throw food at the pastor when he tells a bad joke, and put our muddy boots up on the sanctuary chairs. On Saturday nights we could take all the chairs out of the worship space, roll in some bars and hang a disco ball from the ceiling and have wild dance parties all night. We could sling our beverages all over, smoke cigarettes on the altar and roast a hog over the candles. I mean, we could… but all of us have learned to respect, in varying degrees, God’s house. In our reading today Paul explains that just like the four walls we commonly refer to as “God’s house,” our bodies are also a holy, sacred dwelling place for God.

If you are like me you may have set out to start 2012 committed to healthier living through regular exercise and changes in your diet. And if you are also like me, you may have set out on this path many Januarys of years past. So the question I have for all of us is, “How is this year going to be different?” How do I include God, who is the source of my will power and strength, in this journey?

I believe we have found it easy to compartmentalize God. We tend to treat the body as an appendage and the soul as what is most important, at least as it relates to what we bring to God. Many of us have been taught a kind of duality as it relates to our bodies and souls — that the body is sinful, lustful, of the earth, while the soul is, or at least attains to be, high, noble, lofty, and of the spirit realm. It seems part of our Christian nature to place the soul over the body.

But as I read our scripture for today, I believe Paul is calling for a shift to our old beliefs. Every soul needs a body, at least for right now, and the quality of the body affects the quality of the soul. How we treat our body directly affects our soul! I dare to believe that body and soul are one — neither is greater and neither is lesser. Despite the fact that the soul is eternal, body and soul are two sides of the coin of this life.

In our scripture the Greek word used for temple is naos. This term is not the word for a pagan temple, or even for the Jewish temple structure and grounds; rather, it refers to the Holy of Holies, the most sacred place for the people of God in the Old Testament. Paul is saying that God is resident within us. Your body is God’s mailing address and God dwells in YOU!

You would never consider trashing or disrespecting a church sanctuary, or letting it fall into disrepair, right? Our bodies deserve that same type of respect. We honor God by maintaining healthy strong bodies. It is a sacred house, a dwelling place for God.

Thought for the day: Do I see my body as special and sacred?

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the suggestions on the How to Pray page.


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