Work for the food that endures to eternal life (John 6:27)
And we have also heard voices discuss the importance of sport not just for the very best, or for the purposes of patriotism, but for the human development itself. Sport for all, we hear, because it is all part of our development as human beings.We are currently in the middle of a celebration the human body and the extraordinary possibilities of its achievements. We have watched − and will continue to watch - people swim faster than we can walk and cycle as fast as we might drive. And we have heard debates about the strengths and weakness of British sport, and the education which promotes the developments of world champions.
I’m not sure what your experience was of school PE. For me it was very mixed. I was good at Rugby (big, heavy) but detested swimming (I couldn’t, still can’t) and cross country running (nothing worse).
Yet there is something very important here. Education is not just about the intellectual. Education means “growth” and we grow not just in our minds but in our bodies too. Of course, some people are more practical, others more intellectual. Some excel at both, many are more inclined to one other the other. But no one is all mind, no one just body, both are essential - and we know only too well that if we are ill, then it affects both mind and body.
But this false division, between mind and body, can affect how we think of our spiritual life as well.
Often, in our minds, we separate out the spiritual and the physical
On the one hand, we may think of the spirit as something very distinct from our physical existence. In this idea we hunger or suffer in the body but the spirit is free from need and free from pain, it is just pure thought, pure personality, free from the chains of physical life.
And the reverse of this particular coin is that the physical world is complete in itself. It gives us the idea that science can answer every question and solve every problem. The physical world - so it seems - has no more need of the spirit than the spirit has need of the physical.
These are very commonly held ideas. They are wrong.
When Jesus explains the spirit he always makes it very solid, very physical. It is the food which endures for ever. It is the satisfying of hunger and the quenching of thirst. It is the bread which comes down from heaven.
It is the spirit which fills the physical with life and truth and purpose, and eternity.
Spirit and matter, soul and body are not two separate things best kept apart. They are one: created by God, redeemed by him in Christ, the Word made flesh, the bread of heaven.
Lord, give us that bread always!(John 6:34)
Photo: The Olympic flame is lit during the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Summer Games at the Olympic Stadium in London, Saturday, July 28, 2012. (AP Photo/John Stillwell, Pool) Source: AP