Is Worship Healthy?
Rev. Michelle Holmes Chaney

Why yes it is? If worship, showing the worth of God in Jesus Christ, is not what we manage to squeeze into an hour or so on Sundays and special occasions, but instead every thought word and deed we claim to think, say or do in response to our understanding of what it means to be a disciple. And yes, if healthy refers not to our medical/physical state but instead to the ability to find and maintain balance in our lives that requires God be first, and God actually is.

There have even been medical studies which can confirm this connection between worship attendance and health. A 1998 Study conducted by the Yale School of Medicine found that, “For the elderly, religion may do more than ease the soul. In fact, attendance at religious services may actually improve physical health and psychological well-being.” I don’t think you could convince your doctor that attending a one hour worship service five days a week would be a good substitute for the 20 minutes a day your doctor wants you to walk. But I do think that reflecting on the connection between our bodies, our health, and worship is worth the exploration.

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” Romans 12:1

Notice the connection between our bodies and worship in this text. All throughout the Old Testament we hear God repeatedly asking for sacrifices that are pure, unblemished, the first and the best. Why do we think we are somehow exempt? Let’s be honest if some of us were Abraham’s son, in our current state of health, I could hear God saying, “You know what…never mind!” I am all for giving God all our worries about our blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease and bad feet. But let’s not try to give God high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease and bad feet. During this month let’s try to find ways to make our worship healthy. And let me know what you come up with. I need all the help I can get!

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