Some years ago I was traveling through Europe when I came across a great cathedral. Everything about the building was breathtaking; the height, the architecture, the lighting, even the way sounds echoed across the room. Walking through it could only be described as a spiritual experience. I’ve always been a firm believer in the ever-presence of God, but standing within that massive structure, I began to understand why early Christians flocked to giant monuments and cathedrals. They had a way of bringing God into sharper focus.
As Christians, we’re frequently told that the Church is not a building but rather a congregation of believers, and this is true. However, physical locations can play a large part in connecting people to Jesus. They allow us to be conscious of the moment, and inspire us to seek God with a sense of awe. It’s a little ironic then, that we rarely attach the same wonder to our own, physical bodies.
“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. – Psalm 139:14
Our bodies are created to be temples, a place where the spirit of God inwardly dwells. More than that, J. Scott McElroy believes they were designed by God to serve a purpose. Writing for Relevant Magazine, McElroy argues that our physical forms are supposed to function in the same manner as a cathedral; anchoring our spirits to the here-and-now while encouraging us to carry out the work of Christ. He writes,
“What if the way our specific bodies are designed is exactly what is needed in this time and space that we live in, to enable our spirits to collaborate physically with God in this world? What if the amount of time we’ve each been given in this bodily vessel (in its current state) is the perfect amount of time to accomplish what it is that God prepared for us before time began? What if we each have a mission and purpose that is unequivocally tied to and dependent upon the body we’ve been given?…”
“Really, this is how Jesus lived. He was a timeless spirit, but chose to be anchored in time and space. He had limited years in an earthly body, but knew His body was necessary for accomplishing His mission. He didn’t obsess about His physical limitations. He rested and ate when His body required it. He didn’t rush around frantically trying to ‘get more done.’ He got filled up daily with the Father’s love through prayer, worship and Scripture study and He freely gave that love away. He simply did what the Father showed Him, and that was enough.”
When you consider everything, a human is vastly more awe-inspiring than any manmade structure. God created us to think and plan, sing and dance, run, jump, and swim, there is really no limit to what we can accomplish. When you look at another person you are not seeing a mere human, but a divine creation of God, placed in this world for a purpose. The same is true about you. God made you, and his spirit dwells within you. You are quite literally a living, breathing, temple which testifies to the love and glory of an Almighty Father. Today is an opportunity to be present with God, so don’t waste it, and don’t forget that you are fearfully and wonderfully made.