Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Salvation Affects Our Bodies

St. Mary's Church, Albington, UK

I find myself ever hungering for a deeper understanding of what it is to live in the kingdom of God, of what living under His reign looks like, of how to dwell consistently in His presence, and how to function as an effective light, a living example of the abundant life He offers.

I'm rereading Dallas Willard's Spirit of the Disciplines. So much insight to be gained here. And this quote only catches one tiny aspect of perspective.

If salvation is to affect our lives, it can do so only by affecting our bodies. If we are to participate in the reign of God, it can only be by our actions, and our actions are physical. We live only in the processes of our bodies. To withhold our bodies from religion, is to exclude religion from our lives. Our life is a bodily life, even though that life is one that can be fulfilled solely in union with God.  
Spirituality in human beings is not an extra or superior mode of existence. It's not a hidden stream of separate reality, a separate life running parallel to our bodily existence. It does not consist of special inward acts, even though it has an inward aspect. It is rather a relationship of our embodied selves to God that has the natural and irrepressible affect of making us alive to the Kingdom of God here and now in the material world.  
When our presentation of the Gospel fails to do justice to this basic truth about the nature of human personality, Christianity inevitably becomes alienated from our actual every day existence. All that remains for it are a few special acts to be engaged in on rare occasions. The church then is forced to occupy itself only with these special acts and occasions.  
Through what is in reality an astonishingly lack of faith, the church removes itself from the substance of life. Powerless over life then, it stands to one side, and God is left without a dwelling place through which He could effectively occupy the world in the manner He intends.  
This disengagement from the concrete embodied existence of ordinary human beings explains why we so rarely find within Christianity the tangible substance of that one, as John 1:4 states, "in whom was life, and the life was the light of men." 
~Dallas Willard, The Spirit of the Disciplines