Most Friendly To Health and Strength
Unknown to many people today, the writing of John Wesley’s that was most popular in his time was a little volume entitled Primitive Physick. His goal in writing the book was to provide practical medical advice to those who could not afford a physician. The book is filled with home remedies and traditional cures, some of which may seem out of date to us now. It should be noted, though, that in 1747, John Wesley – a preacher! – wrote “The power of exercise, both to preserve and restore health, is greater than can well be conceived; especially in those who add temperance thereto; who if they do not confine themselves altogether to eat either ‘bread or the herb of the field,’ (which God does not require them to do) yet steadily observe both that kind and measure of food, which experience shews to be most friendly to health and strength.”
Concerns of health and wholeness have been a part of the Wesleyan movement and the Methodist tradition since our earliest days. It goes hand in hand with our theology. Ours is an incarnational faith – God, who created the physical world and pronounced it good, took a human body in Jesus Christ. Care of the body, then, is as important to us as care of the soul. We are concerned with health and healing – for ourselves and for others.
The Bible has that concern as well. Story after story of healings appears in the scripture. Healing has a place of priority in the ministry of Jesus. It is not accidental, I believe, that the word used in Greek for “to heal” is the same word used as “to save.” When Jesus saves us, Jesus heals us; and vice versa.
This Sunday, as we continue our series of “Up In the Mountains, Down at the Coast,” we’ll look at two stories of healing – one by the Jordan River (2 Kings 5:1-14) and one by Lake Gennesaret (Mark 6:53-56). We’ll consider the place of healing and health in Jesus’ ministry and we’ll think together (me out loud) about what that means for our lives. I hope to see you then. And until then, it probably wouldn’t hurt me to get a little exercise.
Grace and peace to you.