Body and spirit, both reaching toward light.
So, here’s the kind of person I am.
When I tumbled down the Wikipedia rabbit hole in my workaday education about the body and nutrition, my mind started spinning on the possibility that our cells mimic the formation process that happens in our spiritual lives.
Track with me here a moment on this.
- What if the enzymes our cells need in order to experience the chemical reactions that spur them down metabolic pathways mimic the work of the Holy Spirit or God’s grace in our formation process?
- What if the choices I make every day in my food consumption and exercise mimic my participation in my formation process through the practice of spiritual disciplines?
- What if the outcomes of healthy body formation — health, vitality, energy — mimic the outcomes of healthy spiritual formation, which include a strengthened spirit and a greater capacity for love and good deeds?
The possibility that our body’s formation could mimic our spirit’s formation made me smile and shake my head in delight. Of course God would do that.
Here’s a little bit more of what I mean.
When it comes to spiritual formation, I’ve written quite a bit on the principle of indirection — namely, that it is the process by which God handles our formation but utilizes our participation. We are partners in the process, and our part is to be faithful with undertaking small acts within our power, trusting God to do the parts we cannot do ourselves. (If you’d like to read more on indirection, you can find some more thoughts on this here, here, here, and here.)
I think the body’s formation might work something like that: I put certain things into my body, trusting that the mysterious work of God inside my body through mechanisms he created will bring about my growth and health. I need to do my part, and then let go, trusting that he’ll do his and that the outcome will be a body increasingly like the one he intends me to inhabit.
And so it made me ask myself:
Will I care for the formation of my body as intentionally as I care for the formation of my spirit?