*Debbie Celsie, our worship leader since January, is still a student minister.  School starts very shortly, and her time with us has ended.  Please enjoy this final meditation, but keep checking back.  We have a wonderful line-up of speakers for the remainder of the month!  

Meditation: “Spring Cleaning”

Scripture Readings

1 Corinthians 6. 19-20

We live in a body-conscious world.

          Many products are sold to help us better our appearance or get in better shape. There’s exercise machines and equipment, exercise videos, memberships for fitness clubs. There’s a lot of talk about getting healthier. Watch that cholesterol, reduce that salt, eat more roughage, low fat this, and low fat that. For many people, it’s the new year that brings the desire to make some needed changes in our lives. According to Nielsen, the top two resolutions for last year were not surprisingly, to stay fit and healthy, and to lose weight.

 

          But back in the first century Christians in Corinth believed that the heart or spirit was all that was important in life, and what was done with the body did not necessarily matter or have any bearing on their faith. Corinth was a place of extreme wickedness. It was so bad that if you wanted to insult a person in that ancient time, you could do so by simply calling the person a Corinthian. In the midst of this vile world system there stood a church – The Church at Corinth.

 

          This church, like far too many in every generation, was more affected by the environment of the place surrounding it than the place and environment was being affected by it, as it should. Now, if we look around even at our churches today, and I am certainly not comparing them to the church at Corinth but there’s not a lot of connection with our faith and spirituality we focus on here, with healthy living habits like eating properly or activities to keep our bodies active. Do we also believe our religion is only about our soul and spirit? We have often heard that “all that really matters is what we have in our heart!” Did Jesus teach that? Does the Bible teach that? No, it actually doesn’t. Even though what is in our hearts is very important and probably governs everything else we do in our lives, it certainly should not be exclusive to the spiritual/ biblical expectations of caring for our physical well being. But, we don’t talk a lot about that. We don’t talk enough about it.

 

          God considers every aspect of our humanity important because He created each part. He marvellously designed our bodies with miles of blood vessels, coordinated muscles, intricate eyes, a complex brain, and unique fingerprints for each person. He’s the one who gives us every breath and keeps our hearts pumping throughout our lifetimes. And, even though Paul was talking a lot about sexual immortality when he wrote this verse to the Christians of Corinth, there was more to it, it had a much broader message with many more implications. When Paul wrote scripture, temples were more than places of worship, they were the place where the Gods were thought to live. So, when Paul reminds us that we are temples of God’s presence through the Holy Spirit, he is saying something quite profound. Paul was reminding the believers in Corinth, and us, that Our inner being, and our body is sacred, is a dwelling place for the Holy Spirit of God.

 

          I don’t know if you have heard of Homecoming Sunday but it’s an event that takes place in churches. It is a time when people who grew up in the church come back for a Sunday celebration. Former preachers come to visit, and people from other congregations come as well. It is a great idea and a wonderful time for worship and Christian fellowship with some of the biggest banquets you would ever see. Now, as you can imagine, when hosting such a big event, there would be lots to get ready! Everyone gets together and cleans every inch of the church it’s

being held in. They paint and spruce the place up. Get rid of old materials, junk and clutter that have been lying around. They would want the building to look nice for the company. They would especially want it to look nice for God.

 

          It works the same for our bodies. We don’t want to junk the place up. Our physical bodies are the means by which we interact with the world and other people, and by which we give honor to God, who designed our bodies to function with adequate rest, good nutrition, and appropriate exercise so we could have the health and strength to complete the work He has called us to do. We only have one body so we need to do what we can to care for it properly. We need to love ourselves by treating ourselves well. Neglecting this increases our chances of illness or weakness. We have to put self care on our to do list. Make it a priority. When your driveway is covered with snow, what do we do? Do we clear it because we feel like doing this? No, we clear the snow away because it has to be done if the driveway is to be kept clear. When your living room is in a mess, do you take out the vacuum cleaner because you feel like doing this? No, we do what needs to be done. Taking care of our bodies, is the “I have to do this”; dimension of the Christian life.

 

          No matter what shape we are in, it’s never too late to improve and do some repair or maintenance on our temple. We can start by learning the basic principles of good nutrition, drink lots of water, employ stress management, exercise, and rest. And better yet, putting then into practice. Laughter is also important. It has been scientifically proven to improve your health. It’s amazing how much better you can feel if you intentionally begin to make positive changes in these areas.

 

          Then there’s the subject of SELF-WORTH, people have such low self esteem or a shame-based nature, it’s hard to think of themselves as temples, they don’t value their body the way God does. It’s too fat, not muscular enough, to short, to tall, breaking down, sagging – whatever. We judge ourselves, we judge others, and find BOTH lacking in what we think, makes one good enough or worth paying attention to.

 

          You may have heard this true story…but it’s a wonderful illustration on this subject…. On a cold January morning in Washington DC, a young man took a violin out of its case and brought it to his shoulder. He was unexceptionally dressed – just jeans and a white t-shirt. And though he had a face that could be considered attractive, it was hidden somewhat by a baseball cap and shaggy brown hair.

          After a few moments of plucking the strings to tune the violin, he reached into his pocket and pulled out a few dollars, which he threw into the violin case, with the hopes that perhaps a few passers-by might do the same. It was a busy morning in the La Font Plaza Metro Station when the young man began to play. Thousands of people were on their way to work, school, home, or wherever they were going. And it was noisy – trains coming and going and the rush of the crowd, many on their cellphones chattering away. Yet through the busyness, the sound of this man’s violin filled the station. It was impossible to ignore.  Or was it?

          Over 43 minutes, more than 1,000 people walked through the doors where Joshua Bell was playing. And if he was any other subway player, perhaps it would have been insignificant that he received such a small amount of money, and the attention of just a few people.

          But Joshua Bell wasn’t just any subway performer looking for money or recognition. He was… and is… one of the world’s most famous violinist, who’s pretty well been in every major orchestra in the world, and he was playing one of the most difficult pieces ever composed, on a 3-million-dollar violin that emitted one of the most beautiful sounds in the world. This violinist who is used to playing to packed audiences all around the world, making upwards of $1,000 per minute, had only 27 people give money, making a total of $52.17 and 20 of that came from one person, and only 7 actually stopped and listened for any length of time.

 

Why?

Because he didn’t look like anyone special…

 

          And, by the way for those who don’t know, this was an experiment initiated by The Washington Post that Bell participated in.  Their and my point is, often, we all miss the beauty that God has placed in each of us and those around us. When we see something not good enough or worthy of our attention, we don’t pay attention, we look the other way. Society places great emphasis on the outward appearances but in different ways than God does. The multi million-dollar cosmetics and high fashion take advantage of this every day with anything from particular shampoos to fancy designer shoes, but God knows we are all beautiful, we all are temples of the divine. It’s about time we all knew it too. We are holy temples, no matter how we may feel about our physical appearance.  In the eyes of God, the human body is a beautiful creation and it was meant to be a blessing. We have been told in other parts of the bible, (2 Corinthians chapter 5), that this body we have is just a house or a tent that shall one day be folded up and laid aside. In Job, chapter 4, death is also described as pulling up the tent cords and packing up the old tent.

 

          On Friday I sent you a video of Stuart Hamlin singing the song, “This Old House”. Hamlin wrote this song creating an analogy between the aging of an old house and the aging of the human body. He was actually drawing upon the Biblical idea of the human body being nothing more than a tent of which we must move out of one day in the future.

 

This old house once knew my children, This old house once knew my wife

This old house was home and comfort, As we fought the storms of life.

This old house once rang with laughter, This old house heard many shouts

Now she trembles in the darkness, When the lightning strikes about.

 

Ain’t gonna need this house no longer, Ain’t gonna need this house no more.

Ain’t got time to fix the shingles, Ain’t got time to fix the floor.

Ain’t got time to oil the hinges, Nor to mend the window-pane.

Ain’t gonna need this house no longer, I’m gettin’ ready to meet the saints.

 

This old house is a-gettn’ shaky, This old house is a-getting’ old

This old house lets in the rain, This old house lets in the cold.

Oh, my knees are getting’ chilly, But I feel no fear or pain.

Cause I see an angel peekin’ through a broken window-pane.

 

Now this old house is afraid of thunder, This old house is afraid of storms.

This old house just groans and trembles, When the night wind flings its doors.

This old house is a-getting’ feeble, This old house is a-needin’ paint.

 

Just like me, it’s tuckered out, But I gettin’ ready to meet the saints.

                                                                                                                                               

Now my old hound dog lies a-sleepin’ He don’t know I’m gonna leave.

Else he’d wake up by the fireplace, And he’d sit there and howl and grieve

But my huntin’ days are over, Ain’t gonna hunt the coon no more.

Gabriel done brought in my chariot, When the wind blew down the door.

Ain’t gonna need this house no longer, Ain’t gonna need this house no more.

Ain’t got time to fix the shingles, Ain’t got time to fix the floor.

Ain’t got time to oil the hinges, Nor to mend the window-pane.

Ain’t gonna need this house no longer, I’m getting’ ready to meet the saints.

***

          Yes, Paul did say in, Philippians that one day God will change our lowly bodies and give us new bodies, a new dwelling place, But we are NOT going to get to preoccupied with the idea of death because until that day, we must live in, take care of and be proud of this body we have and are in today. The body that houses our spirit and our soul, the place where God dwells, and our vehicle for doing his work in this world.

 

                                                                                        All Glory be to God.