"Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Paul to the persecuted at Philippi (2:5-11)

27 February 2015

God didn't ask what you think....

In Bible study last night with my congregation, we were focused on the passage "present your bodies as a living sacrifice."  Somehow I tweaked out the notion that "your bodies are worthy and good and beautiful."  There was a sense in the room that nobody had been told this before.   That nobody thought of heaven as physical and worship as incarnational and sacraments as material.  That this was new.

And the big question that hung in the air was "really? my body?"  Most of them have aches and pains (our church meets in a nursing home, so what do you expect is our demographic?) and don't think of their bodies as beautiful or good anymore. 

Beauty, after all, has become a lie our culture sells us.

But funny, back in Genesis 1, God didn't ask our opinion.   When  declaring all creation good, even very good, he didn't turn to Adam and Eve and ask, "so what do you think?"  Eve didn't get to ask to be skinnier.  Adam didn't ask for Eve to have longer hair and rounder hips.  Adam didn't get to look in a mirror and flex a bit before declaring his consent to the layout of his muscles and bones.  Nope, just here you go, its very good. 

We worry a lot these days about body image and public opinion.  I think we may be fundamentally wrong.  For the Christian, your body is good.  God made you to bear his image.  Jesus took on your physical nature and bears your image into paradise.  You can work, worship, and play. 

Suffering is not good, and you may suffer in the body.  But the reason suffering is no good is that it stands in contrast to what your body is.  Your body is good, noble, beautiful.  You are a hand painted icon of God.

And you're called to be a steward over that body.  You can never make it not-good, but you can cause it to wear out before its time. 

I think as so many of us try to give up chocolate, sweets, during Lent, secretly hoping to lose weight to make our bodies more "perfect" this may be a helpful thought.  Your body is good, very good.  You may need to discipline yourself to lose weight to steward that body (and perhaps Lent is a fine time for that, if it is a matter of worship and faithfulness) but not to shape it, carve it into what the fallen world thinks is beauty. 

Because you are already beautiful.  It is very good indeed.