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I’m planning to live until I’m 114. I’m a golfer who dreams of “shooting my age,” having a golf score equal to or less than my age, and the way my golf game is going, I may have to live to for a few more decades. It’s not my best reason for staying in shape, but it’s one of them!
I was about 35 when I stopped in to visit 105 year old Marie in the nursing home. She asked me if I would conduct her funeral one day. I told her, “Marie, if I’m still alive when you die, I’d be honored to preach at your funeral!” We laughed and I told her what a blessing she was to me every time I saw her.
She was well into her eleventh decade and still full of vitality and life.
When speaking of physical wellbeing, our Founder, Dr. John Eckrich, likes to use the phrase “response-ability.” God is daily calling us to opportunities for service. Taking care of our bodies ensures the ability to jump up and respond when the Lord calls. God Himself is the Author of our physicality. He made us physical beings with a spirit, a mind, a will and a body.
We are not Neo-Platonists or mind/body dualists who think that the life of the spirit is more real or more sacred than our physical existence. We confess in the Creed that God made these bodies, that He sent His Son to take this flesh upon Himself for our redemption and that God has eternal plans for our physical, bodily existence.
Vitality is the capacity to get up each morning and be about the Lord’s work, using hands and feet, lips and tongue, eyes and ears to serve Him in our service to others.
About every eight weeks, my blog will cycle around again to the topic of physical wellbeing and I’ll offer some simple tips for the daily discipline of self-care. We’ll touch on things like diet and exercise or stress management, disciplines we can practice to stay vibrant, healthy, ready to respond to God’s call to serve.
About five years ago, a dear friend to many, the Rev. Dr. Howard Mueller, passed away at the age of 93. You might have known Howard as a leader in the LCMS wellness ministry at synod, as a hospital chaplain or as a parish pastor. I knew him also as a neighbor hustling through the Indian Hills subdivision on his daily morning walk. Howard had one speed: GO!
Just a few days before his death, Howard was seen (full speed ahead!) charging through the halls of the Lutheran retirement community in St. Louis making visits to God’s dear children in the nursing home. That’s vitality!
My 60th birthday is a few days away. I’m showing some signs of decay. I don’t bend as far or lift as much or move as quickly as I used to. Some among us bear the burden of physical infirmities and limitations that the Lord has allowed. I’m far from being in perfect shape, but I have a goal in mind. I want to do the best I can with what I’ve got for as long as the Lord needs me.
Maybe a nice hike around the golf course is in order!
Thanks for reading!
A Congregational Wellness Weekend is designed to help create a ministry environment at your church or school where professional church workers can thrive and serve joyfully in their calling at top capacity. Let’s start the conversation today! Find more information on our website or contact Program Director Darrell Zimmerman to learn more.