Thursday, November 15, 2018

The Antidote for an Unhealthy Life

I have been asked to write an article about Christmas. As I was browsing some of my notes, I came across this old article I wrote years ago about healthy living. This thought has been formative on my understanding of the relationship of the body and spirit. Let me share it with you again.

We want to be healthy, especially during the “- ber” months. Fever, cough and colds are common during this season and we don’t want to get sick. That is why whenever we don’t feel well, feel weak, have body pains or other symptoms, we immediately take medicines that will help us feel better. It is good that we have access to capsules and syrups that help us get rid of the harmful elements in our physical bodies that make us sick. But, what about our Christian well-being? How can we get rid of the things that makes us spiritually unhealthy? Every day we encounter temptations in this world that leads us to sin. We commit sinful acts that make us live unhealthy lives. Sin poisons our bodies. Is there an antidote for this poison? Is there a medicine that can help rid our bodies of the poisonous effect of sin?
Gregory of Nyssa, one of the early Christian teachers, described the Holy Eucharist as a medicine. The Holy Eucharist, or what we commonly call the Holy Communion, is a medicine that counters the deadly effect of sin. He said that the Holy Eucharist is an antidote that heals us from the poisonous sin that leads to death.
Every day, in our work, in our school, in our offices we are tempted to commit sin. These temptations make our thoughts, words and deeds acts of disobedience to God – we sin. Sin poisons our Christian well-being. Sin leads us to an unhealthy life. We need an antidote against this poison. The antidote must be something that has power to overcome sin and death. That antidote is, of course, the body and blood of Christ. This becomes the antidote because the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ whose birth we celebrate on Christmas overcame death when he resurrected from the dead after three days. That body and blood of Christ is present in the elements of the Holy Communion. Remember, Jesus said, “Eat this bread for this is my body… drink from this cup for this is my blood…” Thus, partaking in the Holy Communion allows our body to assimilate the “healing effect” of the body and blood of Christ. Through the sacrament of the Holy Communion, we receive the outward sign of the inward grace from God. John Wesley emphasized that the Holy Communion is a means of grace. When we drink from the cup and partake of the bread, we are actually receiving the grace from God and the power that gets rid of the poisons of sin in our bodies. Isn’t that great? We actually have a medicine that keeps our Christian well-being healthy. And wouldn’t our bodies be healthier when we get rid of the poisons of sins frequently? Wouldn’t we be healthier if we receive God’s grace through the Holy Communion more often? After all, Jesus invited us to do it frequently when he told us to drink from the cup of the new covenant, “Do this as often as you drink, in remembrance of me. (1 Corinthians 11:25)”