Have you heard the phrase ‘keeping body and soul together’? It often refers to food, physical need and hunger. This has been a very real issue in our society over these past years. There has been a significant cost of living crisis. Food inflation is running at around 20%. People are suffering ‘in body, mind and spirit’. Yet, the churches are playing a significant part in responding to these needs. Each one of your schools, parishes or communities will be responded in different ways.
The theme of ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ this year is ‘living the kingdom’ Mission always comes from a place of prayer. How can we, empowered by the Spirit, love and serve those we are praying for or others who are in need? Jesus was always interested in the body and the soul. He always kept them together and so must we; His disciples. A common view of heaven expressed to you or I might be: “I’m going up to heaven soon, and I won’t need this stupid body there, thank goodness.” During this Ascensiontide, it’s good to think about this important subject.
Christians believe in a bodily resurrection. Jesus is the exemplar of this. He was bodily raised. He ascended to ‘The Father’ bodily. This can be denied when people when they talk about their “souls going to Heaven.” If people think “my physical body doesn’t matter very much,” then who cares what I do with it? And if people think that our world, our cosmos, doesn’t matter much, who cares what we do with that? Yet, the message of the gospel and the reality of the Ascension is that God cares a great deal about bodies and so should we! Of course, we will be given resurrection bodies, and they will be different from our earthly ones; yet we are bodily creatures. The physical matters. Professor Tom Wright puts it this way: ‘At no point do the resurrection narratives in the four Gospels say, “Jesus has been raised, therefore we are all going to heaven.” It says that Christ is coming here, to join together the heavens and the Earth in an act of new creation.’
This is the importance of ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ and our prayerful action this Ascensiontide. We are praying for God’s kingdom to be made known: manifest by our words and actions. So, how can you be prayerfully serve and love those who you pray for? How can you faithfully and persistently do this- not just during these nine days but beyond? It would be wonderful to hear of stories of how prayers were said and answered! So, do share stories and pictures of how you and your church community has responded to this call. We would love to see and hear them.
May we pray and work for God’s Kingdom to come so that God be glorified and body and soul kept together!
 Christians Wrong About Heaven, Says Bishop
TIME Magazine: By David Van Biema Thursday, Feb. 07, 2008