Our bodies are temples, this is repeated over and over is our Scripture, most notably in Corinthians 6:19-20:
“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body."
This concept isn’t unique to Christianity. Several other religions have a similar concept. In the Buddhist Anguttara Nikaya I:43 ( a Buddhist Scripture used in Theravada Buddhism) states:
"There is one thing that when cultivated and regularly practiced, leads to deep spiritual intention, to peace, to mindfulness and clear comprehension, to vision and knowledge, to a happy life here and now and to the culmination of wisdom and awakening. And what is that one thing? It is mindfulness centered on the body."
I could give you hundreds of verses from religions around the world talking about this. But, let’s get back to why you should treat your body as a temple and as God’s dwelling place. Over history when temples are not of use to a society anymore they are destroyed or abandoned. A center of religion, spirituality, economy, rites, laws brought to the ground, sometimes overnight; leaving behind pain, confusion, and suffering, sometimes for centuries. Yet, when the temple is taken care of and constantly grows and adapts, it can be in use perpetually. For example, the Cathedral of Saint Dominic in Croatia was built in the 3rd century; but, is still in use today! The Cathedral has been taken care of and adapted to fit the modern worshiper, but the function is still the same.
The same can be done with our bodies/temples and the best part is that it’s never too late to start. Sister Madonna Buder is a nun who ran her first triathlon at age 52 and currently holds the record for the oldest woman to run an Ironman Triathlon at age 82. She attributes her running as a way of worshiping to combine “mind, body and soul”.
So, how do you make this connection? How do you incorporate physical activity into your spiritual life? How do we make our bodies temples as God calls us to do? The answer, as with many things in life, is to start small-meditative prayer on walks is a good way to start. Then you can add in “prayer breath” when doing simple or complex exercise. To do this, start with a positive affirmation, i.e. “God of light” on an inhale; then, on the exhale finish your prayer, “Give me strength”. Repeat this in your head as you go through your exercise routine and feel how you will connect closer to God!
If you want to explore this deeper I invite you to Sunday mornings at 7:45am in the prayer garden where we will have a guided meditative prayer and light yoga-based movement (you can do it in your Sunday best) to fully engage our mind, body, and spirit.
Youth Leader & Personal Trainer