BY STEPHANIE CHIAO AND WHITNEY MORET
It’s easy to circumscribe the relationship between God and Christians with abstract spirituality, to relegate it to a realm somewhere beyond. But when we say “Amen” and unclasp our folded hands, we open our eyes again to a broken world. Our most transcendent spiritual aspirations are mediated through the constraints of physical existence, membership in a world of sin, and the demands of the human body.
Sometimes the body can seem like a curse or a distraction from leading a life of godliness. Sexual temptation plagues us, illness and disability limit us. Aging frightens us, and strivings toward physical beauty mask struggles with our own sense of self-worth. The body can easily become an idol.
There’s a tension between temporal existence and the anticipation of the afterlife. If there is life after death, shouldn’t we be more concerned with evangelism? How do we know we’re saved? Sometimes we forget eternity’s just a lifetime away.
At the same time, our very salvation was accomplished through the body, here on Earth. We’re called to live like Christ, who carried the same burdens of temptation, sin, pain, and weakness that we do. Our bodies don’t merely carry our souls: we exist in our bodies – live, love, and serve through our bodies. The body is a gift, designed by God and intended for his glory.
As Christians, however, we’re more than our individual bodies. We also represent the Body of Christ, his church. We can serve God by loving others individually, but we find strength in the world as a collective of God’s people. The church’s decisions, cultural practices, and teachings with regard to how we live in our bodies, then, have major consequences.
With this issue, the editors of To An Unknown God invite you to ponder the Christian life as inscribed by time and physicality, both as individuals and as members of the body. We encourage you to seek God’s will in a body weighed down by sin but stamped with God’s infinite love as a treasured testimony to his glory.