Reflection for Today ▶️ ⏹️

Body, watercolor by Tobias Mayer, 2022

Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.
1 Corinthians 3:16-17

There are few among us who truly treat their body as a temple, and take the time and effort to tend and nurture it as a priest would a temple building. I am most certainly not among these few, being one of those who has abused my body with alcohol and chemical substances, on and off for decades, never truly reaching a state of bodily grace, one whose posture was not given due attention and whose overall general physical wellbeing was largely ignored. Today I have the wounds and scars to show for these lifestyle choices.

Many others do a better job than I, but often through outsourcing. It's as if we can't be bothered to do this work for ourselves so rely on doctors, gyms, exercise gurus, and above all pharmaceutical drugs to maintain some kind of bodily wholeness—and this tends to be reactive rather than proactive: fixing problems after they occur. The gym and exercise probably has the best results of these options, as there is investment from us in this solution. Reliance on the pharmaceutical industry is probably the worst option, being in the end little better than becoming an addict of street drugs, where 'one is too many a thousand never enough'1 and one drug causes a defect requiring a different drug to fix it. Many old people these days are walking drug stores, essentially murdered by pharmaceuticals yet denied actual death by more pharmaceuticals.

In my latter years I am doing my best to stay clean from substances, both of the prescribed and unprescribed type, to eat a better diet of more natural foods, to exercise, to proactively take vitamins and other supplements to ward off illness—and viruses! Like always, I do this imperfectly. My measure of goodness is not how well I take care of myself, but rather how little I am failing at it. I didn't know my body was God's temple. I would have scoffed should anyone have told me that in my 20s or 30s, and by the time I accepted it as truth it was rather too late to do the necessary repairs, to change the old, bad habits. The temple is condemned and only grace is holding it together. I do my best, it isn't much. I hope you, reading this, have a better relationship with your body than I have had over the years. I hope you are more temple than tenement, more worship than hardship.

God resides in each and every one of us. We don't have to create the perfect home, just one that is loving and welcoming, as we'd like our bricks and mortar homes to be. And remember, God resides also in the other, so when we visit them, when we engage in dialogue or have any kind of interaction with another, we'd do well to remember that truth, and approach the person as we might approach a temple, with reverence and awe.

1 Who, What, How and Why? Narcotics Anonymous World Services, Inc., 1989