Rector's Column

Body and Spirit

April 19, 2015

The world is a complicated and troubled place.  Continuing conflicts in the Middle East.  The horrors of violent acts committed by terrorists.  Random shootings of innocent victims in schools, hospitals and homes.  Poverty and hunger leaving millions of people without food and shelter.  Disregard for the sanctity of human life manifested through abortion, euthanasia, human trafficking and most recently, legal physician assisted suicide.  Then there are the tragedies, conflicts and seemingly insurmountable problems in our personal lives.

Facing the troubles, we look at our bodies and wonder what we can do, thinking we cannot do much.  Or we give up altogether saying we cannot do anything, all we can do is pray and hope God will do something.  Jesus voted down both of those approaches by the way he appeared to the disciples after his resurrection (Luke 24:35-48). He presented himself as a physical being, asking the disciples to touch him and saying he was hungry.  He was also clearly a spiritual being, just appearing to them in the room, passing right through a closed and locked door.

The resurrected Jesus reminds us that we are both body and spirit.  They are not opposed to each other, they need to work together. Sometimes we put body and spirit in opposition to each other. We think of the body only in terms of how it gets us in trouble or fails us because it gets sick and tired.  We think of the spiritual as the most important if only our bodies would stop getting in the way.

Confronting the world’s challenges, we can do something after all.  With the inspiration, courage and strength of the Spirit, we can effect change with our tangible, physical, flesh and blood efforts. The body is the vehicle for doing good, it is not the enemy. Yes, we have our limitations, but the biggest limit of all is thinking that we can do nothing. We cannot pass through closed doors and appear to people like Jesus did. Yet we truly can open the doors to change, reconciliation, trust and healing.  How? Through the bodies we live in and the Spirit that lives in our bodies.