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A 40-Days of Wellness Mediation
By Rev. Chris Harris
“40 Days of Wellness” meets each week (in-person or over Zoom) to support and encourage one another in our health and fitness goals, to learn as well as meet up during the week for various walks, hikes and whatever else people organize. If you’d like to join us, it’s not too late! Sign up here.
I can do all this through him who gives me strength. – Philippians 4:13
In the Baptismal Covenant we make five promise – to continue in the apostles teaching, to resist evil, to proclaim the good news of God in word and example, to strive for justice and peace among all people, to love all people as if they were our very selves, and so on. They are big promises! They are arguably beyond the reach of any of us. If they were new year’s resolutions that we renewed each year, our friends or family would be rolling their eyes – as might we! “Here you go again! Why do I even bother?!?”
But as Christians we don’t make these promises on our own do we? After each of the five promises, we say, “I will, with God’s help.” We don’t pretend we can do ANY of this under our own power. We say up front that we need help God’s help.
Similarly, each year hundreds of self-help books are published or videos are uploaded telling us how to get into shape, how to eat well, how to become more healthy. But most of them lack the most important ingredient: Explaining WHERE we get the power to make change in our life. They tell you WHAT to do, but they don’t tell you WHERE you get the strength to do it. They tell you WHAT to stive for, but they don’t tell you HOW to keep going when we want to quit. They tell you what the goal should be, but they don’t give you the grace and the forgiveness we need to try again when we fail.
As Christians, we don’t have to do this on our own. We can draw on the limitless power and strength of God — a God who’s known for miracles!
And there is one other element in the Baptismal Covenant that is instructive as we seek to make healthy changes in our life. After those who are about to be baptized make their vows, we turn to the congregation and ask, “Will you who witness these vows do all in your power to support these persons in their life in Christ?”
And the people say, “We will!”
We experience God’s love and God’s strength and encouragement through one another. And so when we say we need God’s help, we are also saying we need each other’s help. And trust me on this, when the people of God come together, the impossible starts to become possible! Things we thought were stuck, start to open up. God makes changes in our life, we never dared to dream.
And together, with God’s help, we too be miracle workers!
Questions to ponder:
1) Do my health and wellness goals begin with God? What might that look like for you?
2) How can your faith help you keep going when you fail?
3) How can your faith community support you? What keeps you from reaching out?