Pastor’s August Message
Your Spirit, Soul, Conscience, and Body
God cares about your spirit. Psalm 34:18:
The LORD … saves those who are crushed in spirit.
God cares about your soul. Psalm 34:22:
The LORD redeems the soul of His servants, And none of those who trust in Him shall be condemned.
God cares about your conscience, your heart as Scripture often refers to it. Psalm 10:17:
O LORD, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you strengthen their heart.
God cares about your spirit, your soul, your conscience, but he cares, too, about your body.
It can be easy to be concerned about the spirit and the soul, and leave the body out, as if the body is something lower, as if the body is just the box carrying the stuff that actually matters. We’re concerned about the eggs, not the egg carton. We talk about the good wine, not the bottle it came in. We judge the book, but the cover is of no interest. In this way, our bodies become nothing more than an outward wrapper, a cardboard egg carton, while what really matters is what’s inside.
A Spiritual Journey?
How’s your spiritual journey? At the end of the day, it can seem that what matters is your spiritual life, or the life of your soul, or your disembodied mind, if there is any such thing. The body? That’s the carton, the wrapper.
If we regard our bodies as just the wrapper or container, we can be sure that Jesus has a higher regard for our bodies than we do. Matthew 14:16:
When [Jesus] went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick. Now when it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the day is now over; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” But Jesus said, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.”
We’re not told just what kind of sickness was out by that shore that day, but we do know, Jesus healed them. Jesus saw, perhaps, a man with eyes unable to see, a woman bent over in arthritis, a child with the onset of leprosy, a grandfather unable to recognize those standing around him, his mind no longer sharp—whoever the sick that day, Jesus saw them, and he had compassion on them.
Jesus doesn’t split a person up into pieces, one part spirit, another mind, another body. Will he look at a leper and say, That’s too bad, but I came to give you spiritual life? And say to a blind man, Tough luck about the eyes on your face, but I came to help with your spiritual eyes?
Jesus doesn’t see part of a person. They were sick. He had compassion. He healed them. Then, they got hungry:
Jesus said, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” They said to him, “We have only five loaves here and two fish.” And he said, “Bring them here to me.” Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass, and taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to Heaven and said a blessing. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And they all ate and were satisfied.
[MATTHEW 14:13-21, OF THE GOSPEL FOR PENTECOST 9]
For the hungry listeners, he created food. To us, this breaks the laws of nature, it’s a miracle. To him, it’s doing with his creation as he pleases. And he pleases to feed these upon whom he has compassion. His compassion: He gave up his body on the cross, also his spirit, redeeming your body and your spirit.
“Give Us This Day our Daily Bread”
We are tempted to divide Jesus up as if he cared for our spirits, while the material world and our bodies are below him. They’re not. He has compassion on the whole you. You belong to him—your soul, your life, your name (as he often puts it), leaving out no part of you. He cleansed it all, redeemed it all, and he will be robbed of none of it.
In praying for daily bread, the church on Earth is petitioning him who created all. We pray for our fellowman, that we use our bodies well in service to neighbor. We pray for our neighbors’ bodies to be provided for and that the rule of Law is upheld. And we rejoice, for we make this intercession to the Lord who gave us his Name in Baptism and who has compassion on us and our neighbor.
In the Name of Jesus,
Rev. Warren W. Graff
June 28, 2018
June 01, 2018