Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The New You

God changes us.

This week I started reading a new book by Reggie McNeal and I have been preparing for the sermon this weekend on the Gerasene demoniac. As I have spent time reflect on these two things, I have kept coming back to the same thought.

God changes us.

God wants us to be happy, healthy, and use the gifts he has given us. In order for all this to happen, God changes us. He takes those things that we hold onto, those things that hold us back sometimes, and helps us to see them as obstacles, sometimes even removing them from our way, or giving us the strength to get past them.

He changes us - and he does so because he wants us to function at our peak performace. For when we get healthier, our relationships get healthier as well. Our relationships with family, friends, strangers, even God - they all get healthier and we see new ways that the Body can function and grow.

This summer we are going to be offering a four week course on "The Body - A Wholistic Approach to Life" (this is just a working title right now). The four weeks are going to focus on four different aspects of our life. One week will be nutrition, one will be spiritual health, one will be vocational health, and one will wrap everything together.

I love the idea behind this (and, I must confess, it is not my idea, but rather a couple of dear saints who asked about a nutrition class earier this month). I love the idea because it takes seriously the thought that our whole lives need to be examined for us to be healthy. Physically, mentally, and spiritually, we need to be in balance in order to grow and live out our callings.

So today, my prayer revolve around the Body - both ours and God's (the Church). May we all be open to the changes that God sends our way, and may we have the courage to grow and become healthier, each and every day.

1 comment:

Betty Dygart said...

Pastor E said, "Physically, mentally, and spiritually, we need to be in balance in order to grow and live out our callings."

These are very true words.

When I came into work yesterday, the entire newsroom was talking about the visit they had had for two hours during the morning. Sixteen BMHS ninth graders were brought through in groups of four, to be "enlightened" at various stations within the Beloit Daily News.

Local News Editor, Clint Wolf, said to me, "We sure could have used a former teacher this morning, to help us by delivering the 'teacher stare' to get those kids to settle down." (Clint attended Catholic schools growing up, has stories to tell of the nuns who had rulers, so his perception of teachers is a bit skewed).

I have to say, I am glad I wasn't there. "I have done my time" is a phrase that comes to mind. Teaching is sometimes a grueling occupation, where you find yourself attempting to expand the minds of students who are so mentally "burned out," in even their teen years, that you throw your hands into the air in exasperation. Every day you attempt a different lesson, designed in some new way, hoping for an inroad. Sometimes it works, but often it doesn't.

Physical, Mental, Spiritual, those were Pastor E's terms. I wonder how well our public schools are doing with any of them. However, there are so many undetermined influences on these young people. When you look out at the faces filling your classroom, each one has a story, many times a sad one.

I recall one January morning, after the holiday break, when I had a young man in the back of my class with his head down on his desk. I can see him now; he always wore the same powder blue jacket, with an insignia of North Carolina on it. I asked, "Gee, Titus, didn't you get what you wanted for Christmas, that you are so down-hearted today?"

His head came slowly up, he looked at me briefly and said, "Ms. Dygart, we haven't had Christmas at my house since my mother left us three years ago."

You can imagine how small I felt at that moment. How can you reach the mind of a young man who is dealing with such spiritual and physical loss? All I could do was put my arm around his shoulders and apologize for my insensitive comment.

Some students will not let you touch them, they are that burdened with negative experiences - that afraid of contact.

Today, I pray for our young people, not just in Beloit, but in communities across this nation. I also pray for the people of China and Myanmar, for relief from the disasters they are suffering. It will be a long road back, and for some, it will never come to an end.