As the Psalmist proclaims, “you …formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works that I know very well.” (Ps.139)
The body is such a work of art; such an amazing creation that it becomes easy to take it for granted until it stops working like it should. I discovered that late last summer when I irritated a disk in my back and spent several days unable to sit down or turn over in bed without piercing pain, and then spent about 6 weeks in physical therapy as my back began to heal itself and life became more possible. If anyone ever asks me about the Physical Therapists at Mary Greeley, I’ll gladly sing their praises! What a difference that made.
Christianity has not always done a good job of honoring the bodies God has gifted us with. Throughout history, too often the body has been seen as unclean or as the “lesser” part of ourselves. There are people who deny their bodies for the sake of their spiritual life. While there may be healthy expressions of bodily denial such as the practice of fasting or giving up certain things for Lent, the body is not some crude, inferior thing that is somehow not really of God. They are containers for the very Spirit of God!
On the other hand, in our culture, the body – at least the thin, young ones – can be objects of too much focus. With God’s vision we can celebrate the bodies we have and try to treat them well and honor them as a gift with a sense of grace and wonder, but without focusing too much on looks and weight. “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”