People, Pulpit & Pews
“ In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths”
By Mercedes Neddle, Religion Editor
By Pastor Mark Jeske, St. Markus Lutheran Church
Second, when you become a believer, you are physically part of the body of Christ. He was incarnate as a human being, but he stayed human his whole life. He didn’t just appear to be human. That’s why Christmas is such a big deal—your Savior is fully human, just like you, with blood and kidneys and a brain and a heart. Jesus kept his body, and you’re part of it! He’s physically bonded with you and me. The Scripture over and over says, “You are part of the body of Christ, the physical body of Christ.” Every time you receive Holy Communion, you are physically re-strengthened, re-energized, and re-grafted into the physical body of Jesus Christ Himself. How could you take what is essentially not just your aging, graying, wrinkling taxi cab and use it up and throw it away—how could you take that, which is really the body of Jesus Christ, and do something that God Himself said is evil?
There’s another reason: “Flee from sexual immorality.” You might remember the story of Joseph who was first a slave and then became a worker in an Egyptian household. The owner’s wife thought Joseph was pretty goodlooking and made herself sexually available to him. Joseph fled from her presence in such haste that he couldn’t even get his outer cloak fastened about him. But the reason that Joseph ran from her was not that she was such an ugly old bag that he couldn’t stand the sight of her. He ran away because she was so hot he didn’t trust himself to be in a room with her even for another minute.
Paul says, “Flee.” Make your feet go away from temptation. Why? “All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. 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.”
Your body matters. This isn’t like spring training, a little game to play that doesn’t matter. Everything matters! Your body is not just a disposable husk that you will soon cast off. You will indeed live as a spirit as you wait for judgment day, but your body, wherever it comes to rest in the earth, is only there for a sleep. The Lord will reassemble you no matter what has happened or how long a span of time has passed. Even the sea will give up its dead, the Bible says, and God will reassemble you.
And you will be you in heaven! You will look like you. You were designed to be a miniature version of God himself, created in his image, and the Son of God honored you and me by becoming not only like us, but one of us.
The stupendous design of your physical body was designed to be an everlasting design to bring joy to God. The Father made us for Him. Jesus Christ redeemed us from our sins to bond us to Him. And the Holy Spirit sanctifies us and brings us to faith through Word and sacrament so that you and I can be walking temples of the Holy Spirit belonging to God.
You are a true temple of God the Holy Spirit because He lives within you. You are walking churches in your body! Your body matters.
Paul helped us connect Cartagena with Corinth. And I hope that as you ponder what the resurrection really means, you’ll be able to get past the confusion in the minds of many of your fellow Americans. Only about a quarter of them grasp the concept of the resurrection of the body.
Perhaps they think that burning the body, cremation, at death so disintegrates the molecular structure that even God could not reassemble it. They are very wrong, of course.
More people in America believe in reincarnation than believe in the resurrection of the body.
People believe that they’re going to come back as another person. Kind of like Bill Murray endlessly replaying Groundhog Day over and over until you get it right.
Or others have been influenced by Zen Buddhism: the goal of all human effort is to improve yourself morally and deny yourself pleasure and evil in order to reach the goal of becoming part of the god stream, or whatever flows above, and ceasing to be you.
These ideas confuse people. But you and I have a message to bring that we were created, brilliantly designed, for God. We were redeemed by Christ, body and soul, and became part of His body. And the Spirit lives in us as His temple, not to take away our awareness and consciousness and ultimately make us nothing, but so that our minds, hearts, and bodies can live with God joyfully forever.
Your body really matters!