I recently made a purchase of a bicycle. I know I need to do something for some exercise and to tend to my physical body. A clergy colleague and friend of mine recently started riding a bicycle, he posted about it and it inspired me to consider the same. The older I get, the harder it becomes to shed excess weight, and the opportunity to get some exercise seems to allude me. So when I saw my friend talking about his bike riding experiences, the number of miles he was pedaling, I thought this would be interesting and fun. Interesting and fun will also give me the much needed physical exertion and core strengthening that I am in need of.
While thinking of bike riding and getting in shape, I’m also thinking about our spiritual lives. Do we pay as much attention to our spiritual lives as we do our physical bodies? I get it, we see ourselves in the mirror every day, it reminds us of what we need to do for to make sure we are healthy and fit. Our spiritual selves don’t always tend to appear before us to remind us of what has been neglected. Whether we’ve noticed or not, our spiritual lives need as much attention as our physical bodies. We were created to house both, physical and spiritual. You really can’t separate the two. Both have an impact on the other. If our physical bodies are out of whack, that impinges on how our spiritual bodies fare. The opposite is true as well. When our spiritual bodies are out of shape, neglected, abandoned, or shoved to the corner, we suffer. We suffer with anxiety, depression, obsession, addiction, anger, withdrawal. All sorts of things can afflict us when we don’t tend to our spiritual needs. These things then have a direct effect on our physical selves.
The bicycle is quite a marvel. It has two wheels and can be very precarious when it is traveling at a very slow speed. When you begin to pedal faster, however, the bike becomes much steadier. Its a law of physics, the faster a two wheeled cycle travels, the steadier and more stable it becomes. The faster you travel on a bike, the more calories you burn. The more calories you burn, the more your body begins to react. You lose weight, you gain strength, your endurance becomes more and more enhanced.
But how do we tend to our spiritual lives? We can engage in more and frequent prayer, we can reduce our intake of negative images, voices, and situations. We can find ways to serve God by serving others. These things tend to shape us up spiritually and give us what we crave, a real connection with God.
Like a bicycle,our prayer and missional lives are strengthened and steadied the more we tend to them. The more we engage with God, the closer we become. The closer we become to God, the better our relationship with God becomes. The better our relationship with God becomes, the less we are negatively impacted by all the mess we see around us. The faster our spiritual connection is exercised, the more we can handle whatever comes our way.
I hope to enjoy this new bicycle and the exercise I will receive riding it. I hope my physical body will shape up and continue to serve me well. I pray my spiritual body will also get in shape with more frequent conversation with God. I pray my ability to shrug off the negative forces around me, so that I can see and participate in the serving and worshipping of God through what I say and do.
I’m reminded of what the Apostle Paul says to us in the Letter to the Galatians 6: 9… ”Let us not grow weary in well doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” This passage addresses us physically and spiritually. Its going to take some time for me grow fit, it won’t happen overnight. But if I put in the time and effort, it eventually will pay off, both physically and spiritually.
I hope and pray you are each doing well, taking care of yourselves, physically and spiritually. I long to see you and be with you, in the meantime, I will tend to my physical and spiritual self so that when we meet again, we will have much to celebrate.
Your fellow traveler on the Way,