Friday, June 30, 2006
A few years ago, while out for a morning jog, I briefly caught a conversation between a toddler and his mommy pushing him in a stroller:
-(Pointing to me) "What's she doin'?"
I remember chuckling ruefully at the time. However, I've in fact been bothered of late by the same question. Why are we so attached to sports or physical activity - i.e. recreation? Why the World Cup? Why pickup baskball games in the park? Why hundreds of people running around every weekend in seemingly futile circles around Lake Calhoun, Isles, Harriet, etc.? Why swimming, sailing, kayaking, golfing (SERIOUSLY), hiking, biking, canoeing...
Much could be said about pride and the search for prestige, especially in the more visible sports. But these are the most obvious answers. I'm gonna place my bets elsewhere, just for argument's sake. What other motives might there be? (My mind is filling up with images of "special stories" from Olympic coverage of years passed, when we see the young, brave athlete strapping on their skates for the umpteenth time...)
I don't want this to get corny.
But something DID strike me recently that I've got to throw out there. While joggin' and sloggin' along through the summer heat recently ("why?!"), I realized that in re-creation, we re-create ourselves in a way. Give me a second to explain. In this world, we all yearn for new bodies. No one is exempt from this. For the Christian, one of our dearest hopes and convictions is that when the Lord returns, our bodies will be resurrected and NEW. This is essential to the Christian for their ability to withstand the glory of God. As the downcast Job explains:
A. Life sucks. REALLY sucks. But -
B. "As for me, my Redeemer lives. Even after my skin is destroyed, YET FROM MY FLESH I SHALL SEE GOD." (Job 19:25)
This "flesh" can only be the resurrected body, because the old body is "destroyed". Paul invites us not to speculate overmuch, but we do know that it will be modeled after the design of the body of the resurrected Christ - "we shall all be changed." (1 Cor 15:51)
But what the heck does all this theology have to do with sports & stuff?
Here's the deal. I'm seeing that our desires to shape and tone and firm up and strengthen - these are all God-given desires, because we want our new bodies SO BADLY. When coupled with the communal, competetive, and other aspects of sports, the urge to partcipate really takes over, for some people. (You'll know what I mean if you're that kind of person.) But I'm ready to postulate (oh dear) that the desire for our resurrected bodies is the PRIMARY MOTIVATOR. I'll be happy to discuss with anyone who feels the contrary. I'm particularly interested in what y'all think about the legitimacy of searching for a new, toned earthly body if a heavenly one is on the way. Are all of our sweaty efforts in vain? What purpose do they serve towards our eternal life?