Body

1 Corinthians 6:19

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God?

Throughout my life, I have had a complicated relationship with my body.  When I say that, I think I am saying that I have had a difficult time over the course of me life integrating “desire” into my spirituality.  From a fairly young age I learned a dualism that set bodily impulse over against spiritual longing.  One had to deny the former in order to cultivate the latter.  There are plenty of New Testament texts, if interpreted a certain way, that can feed into such a dualistic understanding.  I was a walking battlefield.

What was lost for too long on me was one of the most important claims of Christianity:  our bodies, no less than our spirits, are from God.  Our bodies are sacred.  We are ensouled bodies.  We are embodied souls.  

The problem was not the recognition of the tension of conflicting desires.  The problem, to put it mildly, was the assumption that bodily desire was evil and spiritual desire was good.  What could it possibly mean for the human being to flourish under such conditions?

Our bodies are from God and for God.  That’s a good starting place for our understanding of our bodies, ourselves.  It is a worthy place to return to again and again as we take up the spiritual task of honoring God, of knowing God with and through our bodies.

Prayer:  Gracious God, for my body, I give you thanks.  With my body, I seek to honor you.  Amen.