Thursday, May 12, 2011

Body And Soul

When I served as an Associate Pastor at my former church, one of my responsibilities was to bring communion to our homebound members as well as those in the nursing home. If we are honest with ourselves, we tend to see aging as a curse rather than a blessing. We secretly hope that we don't end up in a nursing home because we view those facilities as warehouses for the elderly who are waiting to die. We sometimes feel that the nursing home means not only the end of physical life but also the end of any kind of usefulness. This kind of thinking is reinforced by the images we see of older people on television or in the movies. The elderly are often portrayed as bumbling idiots who have lost their sanity. However, God does not see the elderly that way. He uses them even in a nursing home setting. I have been blessed and ministered to by all the folks I visited at home and in the nursing home. I even had the privilege of conducting some of their funerals. God has been speaking to me this month about the value of our bodies. Early pagan groups such as the Gnostics often painted a picture of the body as "evil" or "bad" and the soul or spirit as "good". But Scripture tells us that both are glorious gifts of God. Jesus took on flesh and described His body as a temple when the Jews confronted Him. (John 2:19) Likewise, Paul tells us that our bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit who dwells in us. (1 Corinthians 6:19) Think about it! The temple was precious to the Jews because it was the place they felt where God dwells. Now that dwelling place is our bodies! Even bodies that are old and frail still embody the Spirit of God. The elderly remain vessels through which God pours His wisdom and truth. This fact was made clear to me when I met a woman named Fran in the nursing home. Fran handed me a little booklet of poems and prayers she had written and published. In looking at it recently I was blessed by one prayer in particular where Fran bring the connection of body and soul together in Christ. His eyes, ears, lips, arms, hands, and feet minister to her. They are gifts to her soul and gifts to her body. I share Fran's gift with you that you may meditate upon it  and be blessed.
Pastor Sheree

MY PRAYER (by Fran D. 1979)
Eyes of Jesus--watch over me.
Ears of Jesus--hear me.
Lips of Jesus--guide me.
Arms of Jesus--hold me.
Hands of Jesus--touch me.
Feet of Jesus--Lead me home.

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