What connects the body with the spirit? What happens when we drive a wedge into life between the sacred and the secular, between the spiritual and the material? Paul discovers that his brothers and sisters in Corinth hold some mistaken ideas about the material order. Their resulting behaviors are way off the mark. They live as if their spirituality can remain sacred and intact no matter how they behave. They fail to realize the sacred nature of the material side of life. As a result, they take some serious missteps. The time has come for a stern (but loving) message, and Paul offers it. I would welcome Paul giving us that same message.
God created both the material and the spiritual and affirms both as good. While I may exercise my freedom to do all things, I can choose to affirm God’s promises and conduct myself in a way that pleases God. What I do with my body, what I eat or how I act, is not separate or irrelevant to my spiritual nature. The connection between spirit and body matters: God will raise our bodies just as he raised Jesus’ body. God redeems our lives and that of creation. We are not our own but Christ’s, and we are to live fully out of our integrated selves.
Paul calls his flock to task because they do not understand or believe the powerful integration of life between the material and the spiritual. His words serve as a pertinent reminder to us as we “glorify God” in our bodies!
Lord Jesus, thank you for the gift of an integrated life. We acknowledge that your grace affirms the material and the spiritual aspects of our lives. May we honor that gift. Amen.
We read the stories of Samuel and the calling of Jesus’ disciples in John, and it is easy to feel jealous. God spoke so directly into their lives that they should have had, it seems to us, full and unwavering confidence in their calling. Didn’t they have an unfair spiritual advantage over us? However, the psalmist reminds us that God knows and sees us individually just as well as God knew Samuel and Jesus knew his disciples. God has plans for us, even if they are revealed in less obvious ways. The reading from Corinthians is quite different in its message. Perhaps we can at least recognize that even if we never hear God’s audible voice, through scripture God still provides guidance for our lives.
• Read 1 Samuel 3:1-20. In what ways do you remain responsive to hearing God’s voice?
• Read Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18. What sense of God’s involvement in your everyday life do you have?
• Read 1 Corinthians 6:12-20. How do you remind yourself of the spirit–body connection?
• Read John 1:43-51. When have you allowed prejudice to affect your decision about a person’s competency?
Respond by posting a prayer.
This season, Whitney R. Simpson has given us the gift we must open: a clear, accessible invitation to connect with the divine spark that is within us. This is the best present: being present for Jesus’ birth, God made human.”
Learn more about our newest Advent resource, Fully Human, Fully Divine here.