Brother Ass needs exercise if he is to live long in the land as God has promised.
Welcome to this fourth day of contemplation of our stubbornness as Anglicans in avoiding certain issues that we really know deep down are important in the care of our bodies.
Let us go back to our starting point; God does not live in temples built with human hands, but in our bodies. Each of us is shaped as a living stone, together making up the church of Christ.
Whilst much about sickness and frailty remains mystery, as the CEO of Discovery Health recently reminded us, 80% has to do with lifestyle.
Today we talk about the fact that Brother Ass needs exercise. It really should be central to our faith. It may make the difference to you and me being the hands and feet of God able to help another, instead of someone else having to assist us.
Taking a walk really is godly thing to do.
And there is absolutely no doubt that if Brother Ass stubbornly refuses to leave the couch, he will become frail long before his time. Occasionally we may need to take the whip to him. That was St Paul’s experience.
“I pommel my body and subdue it, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.”
- 1 Corinthians 10
It is indeed a sobering thought that after years of being a Christian, if we refuse to subdue Brother Ass, we may indeed ourselves be disqualified. It’s that important. Our bodies needs exercise.
Exercise does many beneficial things for Brother Ass, who remembering our metaphor, is just another name for the temple of the Holy Spirit, God’s dwelling place. Forgive me for being so repetitive but this absolutely central.
We need to care for ourselves as a spiritual duty because our bodies are the temples where God dwells; once I grasp that this is where He dwells, then all the rest follows more easily.
If we neglect Brother Ass’ needs, allowing him to become frail long before his time, then we become very limited in what we can do as the hands and feet of God to meet the necessities of a suffering and demanding world.
There is very strong research for example that those who walk 10,000 steps every day have an absolutely massive 60% lower all-cause of disease. That is the difference between being crippled with pain at 75 and being active and busy at 90.
There are many different types of exercise, and all have their merit, but there are two hallmarks. Much of it should be weight-bearing and there should be some resistance training. Cycling and swimming are good, excellent in fact, but not enough.
Have you read Journey with a Donkey? A marvellous old book by Robert Louis Stevenson. Brother Ass needs to bear his master on many travels. Walking and gardening are both good. Turning the sod and shoving a wheelbarrow around the backyard would be excellent examples of weight-training.
Exercise for example counters what is known as insulin resistance; the inability of the body to reduce blood sugar. It’s estimated now that over 50% of us are either prediabetic or frankly have the disease. That means inflammation and pain. Brother Ass needs to get off the couch and get busy.
Exercise means more blood flowing to the brain. Pommeling Brother Ass actually increases the size of his cerebrum and reduces the likelihood of him losing his marbles.
Exercise gives strong bones so if he falls he won’t break a hip; it improves his balance.
Exercise gives him bigger muscles so he is less likely to become frail long before his time.
Exercise will mean that Sister Jenny doesn’t get osteoporosis. And 10,000 other blessings.
So to sum up, look upon taking a walk as a spiritual exercise, not an indulgence. It should be placed up there on the shelf along with praying, reading your bible and taking the sacraments.
And of course there’s a synergy about such matters. Whilst you are enjoying a stroll or weeding in the garden, you can also be spending time in silence with God. He has things to say to us but we need to grasp moments, here and there, to be quiet.
Bless you today as you pommel Brother Ass and Sister Jenny. Don’t indulge them; they need exercise.
The brain is a hugely busy organ; believe it or not, it consumes nearly half of the oxygen we breathe in. Doing everything we can to preserve Brother Ass' marbles is obviously hugely important.
This is a vast subject but blood glucose is central to it; when raised abnormally it cause inflammation of the blood vessels so there is a tendency to form tiny clots. In the brain that means TIAs. Brother Ass needs exercise to keep him from diabetes and consequently senility.
There are many phytonutrients that have been proved to help Brother Ass from losing his marbles; it's the reason scientists are recommending we enjoy many coloured foods daily. I will mention just two.
Dopamine is a hugely important neurotransmitter in the body; it's been called the happy hormone. It is produced in a nucleus in the brain called the Substantia Nigra. For unknown reasons, though the nitrates in preserved meat have been fingered, this tiny organ can go into decline and even die. Broad beans are the only common source. You are unlikely to find them on supermarket shelves; you have to grow them yourself.
Beta-cryptoxanthin is the most powerful anti-senility phytonutrient known; Brother Ass should be enjoying citrus every day of his life. Have you got a lemon tree in the garden?
Brother Ass needs exercise and he knows it but he's a stubborn beast.
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