Monday, March 18, 2024

The Body

With a title like "The Body," you probably think I'm going to talk about the church. Yes, of course...but not yet. I want to start out by talking about the actual body, the human body, the flesh-and-blood-and-bone body that we all have to live in. 

See, I think that we understand creation most intimately through the experience that we have with it in our own creation. And if you think about the human body, it is truly incredible. 

The body is held together by...mostly itself. Its connective tissues work together with its hollow spaces and the forces of gravity, and there's so much empty space inside the human body that you wonder how it could possibly even work. Its connective tissues have different structures depending on what they are connecting and what kind of connection that needs to be. Blood is designed to flow through every millimeter of the body, but also to be circulated back in just the same way. 

There are functions for support, for sustainment, for strength, for waste management, for vitality...and every single one of these life forces is balanced by the reality of death. The truth is that our cells are dying all the time, even as we are living because of them. 

And in our strength, we feel also our fragility. In our completeness, we feel the necessity of the smallest things. We are constantly being reminded of how important the little things are. 

Ever had a hangnail?

Think about that for a second. A fingernail. A part of your body you probably don't think about very often. Its function is to provide structure to the fingertip, helping to define it to enhance its ability to function as designed, while also providing some protection for the fragile flesh that does most of our handling of things in the world. But get a bit of that fingernail either growing or breaking the wrong way (or both), and it's very painful. For awhile. And it affects everything. 

It's strong, but it's fragile. 

Or think about the connective tissues. They allow us great freedom of movement when they are functioning properly, holding things together without restricting them. But stress or strain or even tear one of those connective tissues, and feel how quickly things fall apart. 

They are strong and flexible, but limited. 

And this is the story of the human body - it is strong, but fragile. It is flexible, but limited. It is wonderful, but prone to wear. It is the entire creation of paradoxes wrapped up in one beautiful creation, and we are designed to live in it. 

It reminds us every day of the paradoxes of God, of the wisdom of God. Of the nature of creature and Creator. Of all of these beautiful - and sometimes, not so beautiful - things. 

The body is God's gift to us, but it is also His testimony. 

Think about it.  

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