Monday, July 30, 2012

Under the Orange Peel -the Baldy and the Bear

There is a bizarre passage in scripture where a group of young men start to taunt Elijah the prophet, for being bald. "Go on up, you old baldy!" they say. Elijah calls down curses on them and a big old bear comes out of the forest and mauls the youths to death. It's pretty horrific but the comedy is not lost on me. Every man who has ever been teased for losing his hair feels a smug sense of pleasure at Elijah's revenge.

While Elijah can teach us nothing about taking a joke, this passage does have something to say about God's values of dignity for the elderly and the aging process.

The point is that in a culture that obsesses with preserving our youth, we devalue the assets of character that appreciate with age. In so doing, we effectively disqualify
the elderly because their bodies aren't what they used to be.

Scripture describes a Christian as both a tent and a temple. The tent is the body which is wasting away, and the temple is the soul, bought by the priceless blood of Jesus, and renewed day by day by the indwelling Holy Spirit. Every tent, no matter how beautiful, begins to sag over time. It just does. And while we are called to look after our 'tents,' it's the eternal temple that we are to invest in.

C.S Lewis said it well. "You are not a body. You are a soul. You have a body."

Let's be careful that we don't get mauled by the bear of body worship, where we obsess about the tent and neglect the temple.

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