Flesh and Spirit

           To set the mind on the flesh is death,
           but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.
           You are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit.

                           —Romans 8.6, 9

No, there’s nothing wrong with having a body,
or physical pleasure,
nothing bad about sex or chocolate.
Flesh and spirit are not enemies, or even opposites.
They need each other.

Appearances delude us into thinking
we are our flesh and no more than that:
separate beings defined by our bodies
like lonely asteroids isolated in empty space.
I think I am this thing, this body bag of flesh,
and you are a different thing altogether.
But no, in fact we’re all part of One Thing,
all separate fingers of the same hand,
distinct (in the flesh) but connected (in the Spirit)—
all members of one living organism
Paul calls the Body of Christ.
To be limited to my flesh alone is death,
as it would be for any of my organs.
But to “set the mind on the Spirit” is to stay connected,
to be aware that by the grace of God’s one Spirit
I’m part of The One, the Body of Christ,
the embodied love of God.
Each of the organs of the body (our life in the flesh)
is precious, essential and beautiful,
but only as it is connected with the others
(our life in the Spirit):
interdependent in mutual love and service,
in gratitude and delight.
To float in the loneliness of an imagined outer space
is selfishness and struggle and anxiety and death.
To be in harmony with love, one with The One,
is life and peace.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light
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