LETTER FROM A MINISTER
Body and Soul Health
BY THE TIME YOU READ THIS, I hope that the Coronavirus will be on the wane. One thing the disease has done is provide the opportunity to face our own mortality, because of the risk that we may be one of those who die from the disease symptoms.
Historically, in the West, people didn't generally live as long as we do today due to poverty and diseases from which there was no cure. Apparently, at the end of Victoria's reign, life expectancy was somewhere in the 40s, so folk were mindful of how short life was for them. In Newport Pagnell there are, I am told, several hundred bodies of all ages buried beneath Bury Common. They died from the Black Death plague which killed 30-60% of the population of 14th century Europe. Death was never far away from our ancestors.
Therefore historically, people attended funerals on a regular basis, so there was a greater urgency to find out if there was a God, and what this God was like, before some disease struck them down. They didn't have the luxury of waiting until retirement before considering religious questions. Eventually, we are all going to stand before God at whatever age we die.
Thankfully, the benefit of modern science extends our lives. However, we still have to ask ourselves the questions, 'What am I doing here?', 'Is there a God?', and 'How do I get to encounter Him?'
Easter reveals a resurrection of the body and soul. This resurrection can start now as we engage with a search of God's love and a relationship with Him. We don't have to wait until we die for new life to begin to happen! Look for signs of the resurrection around us such as the testimony of ordinary people who have encountered the living God. They have responded to the proclamation that God loves them; some may have experienced God's healing power in their emotional lives; others by receiving God's healing in their bodies.
So never be tempted to slip into cynicism and disillusionment by believing the old lie that pain and suffering lasts forever. If you live as if it does, then you miss out on the truth about God. If you live your life as if the resurrection of Jesus is true, then you actually discover that it is true. Remember that in science you rightly have to experience to believe but with Christianity you have to believe to experience!
During these times we thank God for science and medics who promote physical health, but let's examine our spiritual health too. Physical health is important but our current bodies won't last forever. Our relationship with God does—so seek spiritual renewal too during this season. Whatever happens to us physically, God made us body and soul, and both are vitally important and need healthy healing and feeding!
Revd Nick Evans,
Rector of Newport Pagnell Benefice.