Signposts: Daily Devotions

Saturday, March 12

I will thank you because I am marvelously made; your works are wonderful and I know it well.
—Psalm 139:14

A few years ago, I read a book that was both inspiring and practical: Spiritual Exercises, Joining Body and Spirit in Prayer. Written by Episcopal priest Nancy Roth, the book was enormously helpful and enlightening for me. I exercise rather regularly, but this book really inspired me to connect "physical fitness" with my relationship with God.

Key to the book is the understanding of our bodies as "partners in our spiritual paths." Roth suggests that her attitude toward the body "is deeply rooted in a biblical understanding of the body as sacred space, brought to life and sustained by Our Creator."

Lest you protest, "Not another exercise book, please!" be assured that this is far removed from any craze or fad. The book is not an illustrated manual; instead, Roth writes with grace and clarity about the need to breathe properly, walk intelligently, get aerobic exercise without running, and grow stronger through some ingenious techniques, my favorite being that of lifting her grandson Gabriel.

In Lent, we are often challenged to examine our hearts and minds, so why not our bodies, too? Roth's book makes a good Lenten companion for anyone, no matter their age, because it gently instructs about the inner and outer workings of the gift God has given each of us—bodies that are, as the psalmist says, wonderfully made.

Creator God, we thank you for the gift of life. Help us to honor our bodies along with our spirits. Amen.

These Signposts originally appeared on explorefaith in 2006.