By Kristen Johnson
As I headed to the sanctuary at my United Methodist Church for worship services this past Sunday, I walked through the greeting area as usual. I browsed through the community outreach table flyers with their invitations to participate in various service opportunities, said hello to several of my Church family friends, and wandered to the Church library to look at the recent book additions. On my way back through the greeting area, I noticed the usual crowd at the “refreshments” table. Big sigh. As always, the table was covered in cut-up pastries, donut halves, and sugar-filled lemonade.
John Wesley, often credited as the founder of Methodism, is without a doubt my favorite theologian. His emphasis on works of Christian charity, and actually “living” the Church are inspiring. And, it turns out that John Wesley was very interested in health and fitness. Obviously, we know from scientific study after study that following a healthy plant-based diet and participating in daily exercise leads to better health – including reducing heart disease and cancer (among other diseases), promoting better concentration and even better mental health and less depression.
John Wesley promoted the benefits of a healthy diet and regular exercise, and the Church that was inspired by his teachings (the United Methodist Church) can and should follow his advice:
- “Nothing conduces more to health than abstinence and food with due labor.”
- Eat a light supper at least two or three hours before bed.
- “Those who read or write much, should learn to do it standing; otherwise it will impair their health.”
- Drink lots of water; it’s the healthiest of all drinks.
- Avoid coffee and tea; they elevate anxiety.
- Exercise, preferably walking, is necessary for good health. (UMC.org)
John Wesley likely understood that God intended for us to take care of ours bodies:
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 )NRSV): 19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple[a] of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own? 20 For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body.
John Wesley could not possibly have imagined a future world filled with GMOs, factory farms filled with tortured animals who have been filled with nasty chemicals and antibiotics, industrial pollution that fills our waterways, and horrible pesticides sprayed all over our crops. Clearly, it’s time to promote healthier living, and the Church is a great way to do that. Instead of pulling out the donuts at every social gathering, it’s time to pull out the organic fruit and vegetable tray.
Eat more vegetables. Consider cutting out meat and dairy entirely, or start with meatless Mondays. Go organic. Buy local produce. Be the change. (And, if you want to go vegan – send me a note. I’d love to help!) 🙂
Serve all with love.
Photo courtesy of: Stocksnap.io