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Pastor’s viewpoint: Feb. 23, 2019

Growing up in a small town in South Georgia, I remember going out early in the morning and coming in at dark. I was either going to school, or in the summer, I was going out to play. We lived on the southeast side of town and the pool was on the northeast edge of downtown and the ball field was northwest of town … so if I wanted to swim or play ball on a summer team, I walked or rode my bicycle.
Most of the time we were playing in the neighborhood — king of the hill at the Freeman’s house, dirt clod wars in the creek across the street, or crawling through the drainage pipes from my house to South Broad Street. Once we followed the creek from our neighborhood out into the countryside and found our way over to the Hadley Ferry Road several miles from home. Sometimes I’d ride my bicycle to the river bridge on the Tallahassee Highway several miles south of Cairo, go squirrel hunting and ride home before dark.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, now only one-third of our children are physically active. Fewer than 5 percent of adults participate in 30 minutes of physical activity each day; only one in three adults receive the recommended amount of physical activity each week. Only 35-44 percent of adults 75 years or older are physically active, and 28-34 percent of adults ages 65-74 are physically active. More than 80 percent of adults do not meet the guidelines for both aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities, and more than 80 percent of adolescents do not do enough aerobic physical activity to meet the guidelines for youth.
I laughingly (although it’s not funny) told someone recently, “I do a sit-up every day. I do the first half in the morning when I get out of bed and the second half at night when I go back to bed.” Now we are discovering that our physical health, our mental or emotional health, and our spiritual health are all inter-related.
So, what is salvation?”
And the answer is, “Through Jesus’ sacrificial death and victorious resurrection, we are reconciled with God and rescued from destruction.” From 1 Timothy 2: “[5-6] For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time.”
“Soteria” in the Greek and “salus” in the Latin are both generally translated “salvation.” But both can also be translated as “health,” as physical, mental or emotional, and spiritual health … and they are inter-related. So my mentor in healing at Asbury Theological Seminary once told me, and wrote in his book The Healing Community, that rather than praying for healing of the body or mind or spirit, we should always pray for wholeness. Now I remember growing up; we were healthy, happy, and shared a deep faith … we were “whole!”

Charles ‘Buddy’ Whatley, a retired United Methodist pastor serving Woodland & Bold Springs UMC and, with Mary Ella, a missionary to the Navajo Reservation in Arizona.