Home

Home.

In the house in which I grew–up and out and on and into–me.

Laying down to rest after an early plane flight, the smell of the pillowcase finds me. I whiff years of love. I feel the air here, as if it were the same air I breathed the first eighteen years of my life.

The house feels smaller each time I come back, and the memories more and more cramped in the back of my mind, taken over by smiles and giggles from curly-headed children and the kisses from he who shares my life.

Staring at the ceiling in my old room, time rewinds. Blue residue from sticky tack that used to hold notecards above my bunk bed hails my high school years, and that one word in small black letters, snuck between the bumps of the popcorn finish of the ceiling: PRAY.

I’m struck by the distance. Not only that I scribbled that word half my life ago, but that I’m farther away now in my spirit. Farther away in passion. That youthful wildness of heart that believed my life would be … well, not how it is now. I’m farther away now. Discouraged.

But strangely, I’m closer. In this weakness and weariness, I’m closer to grace. Closer to Strength.

Need pushes one to Revelation. And that Living Revealed Word brings one truly home.

Home.

In the sanctuary of His presence, breathing the whispered air of grace. Where the house of His Spirit seems bigger each moment I stop for respite. Where a vision of streets of gold, a Lamb on a throne, and a flowing, endless river keep my earthly steps steady.

Even the silence of my childhood home has a fullness that can’t quite be explained because home is like that–rooted in eternity, a reflection of a place so rich and sweet that to glimpse it only in part, now, in the flesh, is almost too much. But the glorious expectation of drinking in the sight fully, someday, keeps one pushing onward, reaching.

Home.

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This is My Body, Given for You

“And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.’” Luke 22:19-20

The miracle of salvation required the breaking of Jesus’s body, the pouring of his blood. The sufferings of Christ were not confined to agony of soul or distress of heart. His hands were nailed. His side was pierced. The act of the cross, and our call to remember it through the celebration of the Lord’s Supper, crushes the myth that our bodies are spiritually unimportant, mere second-class compared to hearts and spirits. Jesus accomplished something with the cross and resurrection that can only be properly categorized as complete triumph. Not only did he cut off the consequences of sin from any who choose to believe in him, but his physical body rose from the dead and became new.

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.” I Peter 2:24

So how can we act like what we do with our bodies doesn’t matter? How can we manipulate, morph, or mistreat our bodies? Or allow others to do so to themselves?

Next time we sit at the Lord’s Supper, let us marvel at the sacredness of Christ’s body. Let us confess not only the sins of our hearts, but also the sins of our bodies. And let us commit ourselves to him afresh. All of who we are: heart, mind, spirit, and body.

Your Body Matters

God’s image within mankind supplies instantaneous value to each and every person—bodies and all. And for that reason, it’s time to get radical about how we view and treat our bodies.

The early church’s perspective on the body radically deviated from Greco-Roman culture . On one side, Gnosticism considered matter to be inherently evil, and did not believe Christ was truly incarnate or that there would be a resurrection of the body. On the other side, secular society had created a philosophical argument based on Platonic ideas that allowed for and encourage libertine living: prostitution, alcoholism, and gluttony. Whatever felt good was acceptable. But neither asceticism or libertarianism properly represents God’s view of the body, and Paul understood this, grounding the body’s identity in Christ, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.”

Today, cultural voices swarm around us: Do what you want with your body; it’s your choice, regardless of how that choice affects others. Change it. Sculpt it. Decorate it. Starve it. Work it out. If you’d like to take into consideration other’s thoughts or feelings — well — bonus points for you. You’re a good humanitarian. But when it comes down to it, your comfort and happiness is what’s most important.

How radical Paul’s imperative: Honor God with your body. Your body matters. Period. Because it — not just your soul — was bought with a price. Consequently, it’s not what the body looks like, but what it does (what we do with it), that matters. And when you come to Christ, you submit not just your heart and soul to him, but your body, making what you do with your body not a free-for-all choice. So guard your body like you do your soul. Our bodies are not plastic to be manipulated or a pleasure-machine to be operated.

Let us present our bodies as living sacrifices, wholly and acceptable to God, for this is our spiritual act of worship. Yes, our bodies — all of who we are — can worship him.

A Theology of the Body

Friends, it’s time to be radical about how we think about our bodies. Scripturally radical, and in a pleasant salt-to-the-world way, of course. For that reason, I’ll be looking at a theology of the body this month. Much hype has arisen lately about beauty. Almost daily it seems friends are posting on Facebook articles and discussions concerning what true beauty is. Christians are engaging in theological conversations about what the redeemed definition of beauty is and how the Christian is supposed to model this biblical beauty. Well and great, but a theology of beauty starts with an understanding of the body, and an understanding of the body flows from a proper estimation of the image of God within mankind.

God chose to encase his image within the shell of a human body. In the Ancient Near East, an image was understood to carry the expression of a deity. An image was not the same as the deity, but an image could be used by the deity to achieve divine work. Thus, as image-bearers, mankind became God’s ambassadors, his kingly rulers of earth. The tools of conscience, self-awareness, creativity, and wisdom and discernment were given to mankind for God’s accomplishing his work through us. But that work—the unfolding of redemption’s story from Genesis through today and beyond—is done by people with living, breathing bodies, who fulfill the Great Commission by loving the Lord with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength (in other words, bodies).

So we value our bodies, not because of their abilities to give us pleasure, but because they encase God’s image and allow us to work for his kingdom. We value our bodies because they were created by God, not by accident, but on purpose. We value our bodies because Jesus took on a body to carry out the wildest redemption plan the earth has ever seen.