Our Body as a Temple

I grew up in a German community in rural west central Ohio. Although by my mom’s generation, speaking the language was beginning to die out. My mom was from a “mixed” marriage–a German-speaking Alsatian and a woman of Welsh heritage. I don’t believe she ever spoke German.

But, I heard German spoken around town as a kid. We picked up words. But the words had no emotional impact. I learned later, much to my embarrassment during my first trip to Germany, that some of the words had great emotional impact. Sort of like dropping the “F-bomb” in church.

From that lesson, I learned that while reading the Bible or other works in translation I should try to be aware of the emotional impact of words on the first readers even when the emotional impact in me is slight.

John places the story of Jesus cleansing the Temple early in his Gospel. John transitions from a story about keeping the Temple–an emotion-laden word–pure to talking about the Temple as Jesus’ body.

Paul, writing to the church in Corinth, takes this concept (realizing he probably never read the Gospel of John, but he no doubt knew John and talked with him) further and talked about our bodies as the Temple of the Holy Spirit.

Paul talked about what goes into and what comes out of our bodies. He talked about the proper use of our bodies.

I’m like most of the people in America, I suppose. I keep saying I need to lose 10 lbs. But really what I wind up doing is maintaining my 175 plus or minus 5. I really should be 165 for my 5’10” frame.

So, while saying one thing, I’ll watch some sporting event on TV on Sunday afternoon and eat a bag of potato chips. Or order the big meal on a business trip. And convince myself I’m tired and cut my workout short.

There are others who do much worse. Sex with the wrong people. Greatly overeating. Drugs. Too much wine.

It is good to make the link back from our obsession with looks to Paul’s analogy of the Temple to John’s use of the word relative to Jesus’ body to Temple as the place to worship God. Our bodies are where we actually house the Spirit and worship God. Let’s keep it clean.

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