Glorifying God in our bodies (1 Corinthians 6:12-20)

What would it look like to do this right now?
January 12, 2018

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For more commentary on this week's readings, see the Reflections on the Lectionary page. For full-text access to all articles, subscribe to the Century.

“For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body.” Paul tells us to glorify God in our bodies, not in spite of them. I wonder what it would mean to glorify God in our bodies, ourselves, our intimate tiny houses, at this exact moment?

Just in recent days, bodies I know have

  • Relapsed, again. It was anorexia if you’re curious, but for the purposes of the example it could have been anything, yes? Relapse communicates much.
  • Submitted final paperwork for weight loss surgery.
  • Leaned on a cane, finally. That was a big admission, getting a cane.
  • Walked without a cane.
  • Menstruated, which was not welcome.
  • Discovered both thumb and feet all in the same week. The resulting chortles were contagious.
  • Moved to palliative-only care for blood cancer. It was time, nearly a relief, but still.
  • Got a diagnosis of breast cancer and young too, too young for this day and age, though I know she would have been old in days of old.
  • Took a long run after turning an ankle. Took some ibuprofen beforehand, which felt a little like cheating.
  • Competed in a gladiatorial fitness contest. She could break me over her knee.
  • Did another version of physical therapy for the chronic condition. It’s been years now.

More happened too, but you get the picture.

Paul is speaking, perhaps ignorantly, about our sexual lives, but let us not be so binary as that. Glorification is a much more interesting question than purity. Somatic lives are much more interesting and complex than consideration of “fornication,” and I can almost guarantee that most of the list above impacted those bodies’ sexual spheres as well.

Right now, at this very moment, with all reality available, what would it mean to glorify God in your body? What would be the response of every sense in your body to glorify God?