Free & Fit - Holy Communion & Fitness - by Tim Cheux

Free & Fit - Holy Communion & Fitness by Tim Cheux

“Exploring the Possible relationships between Christian Worship (Holy Communion) and Modern Spiritual Practices (Exercise & Fitness Routines).”

Introduction - What is Christian Worship? What is Fitness?

What does it mean to be a Christian? It's about a person. Nicky Gumble the founder of the Christian introductory course Alpha describes Christianity being about a relationship with Jesus Christ (Gumble, 2015). When you think of Christianity the name of Jesus Christ immediately comes to your attention. Firstly, the human form in “Jesus Christ of History '' who was born in a small town of Nazareth and to his Mother Mary and Father Joseph. The second is quite different. The “Biblical Christ '' is referencing the Jesus whose birth we celebrate via conception of the Holy Spirit and his resurrection at Easter also by the power of the Holy Spirit (Borg, 1999).

Contrastingly, Jesus may also be known as the Jesus Christ you know personally via relationship spiritually through Prayer, Meditation, Reading the Bible, Baptism and Holy Communion. In the context of the personal relationship we learn more about who Jesus is, what makes him happy, what makes him sad and what makes him accessible and appealing to us in the 21st century today (N.T. Wright, 1999.)

Outside of conventional Christianity, perhaps inside a Church or outside in the mission field, we begin to see less religious practices, through fresh expressions of Church in Music and the Arts or Fitness and Sports Ministry, and more Spiritual than Religious influences. In a modern context we might think about models of sustainability and spirituality from which Christianity is more relatable through the eyes of modern day culture in a more secular and consumerist society than the Jesus of history could relate to.

People of the modern world who sympathies with Christianity are more inclined today to place their trust and faith in something bigger than themselves and who they are (a higher being, the concept of heaven or the potential that a white bearded Christian God could exist). In contrast to something bigger such as Christianity atheists and a growing population of non-Christian people would rather believe in something smaller than who they are (the mall, shopping centre, car, science, technology or economic and weather predictions) the differences are quite stark Both culturally and religiously (Carroll, 2006.)

A Barna Group study called, “Designing Worship Spaces with Millennials in Mind” established that the youth of today are not necessarily looking for a modern day experience, but would much rather find a traditional Church building! So then even the more secular people of today are not attracted to secular or consumeristic Worship “if it isn’t about hipper worship bands or even the nonconventional church buildings! (Fameology, 2015).”

The study found out that 67 percent of younger people prefer a quiet church more than loud acoustic guitar types! Even more; 67 percent said classic is more ideal than hipster and 77 percent chose a sanctuary over an auditorium (Fameology, 2015).

The liturgists Professor at General Theological Seminary, Doctor Reverend Kevin Moroney, highlights four ways in which Christians can define the practice of Worship. Moroney calls them his “Maxims” which are Theological, Communal, Spiritual and Evangelical concepts. These four Maxims form the basis from which we can view Christian Worship; the basic concept of believing in the Biblical and historical Jesus Christ from where a personal relationship is made possible. The word “Worship” comes from the olde English “weorthscipe “an acknowledgement of worth (Moroney, 2020). The purpose of this paper is to explore the four Maxims of Christian Worship and to look specifically at how the embodiment of Christian Worship can be practiced in a religious context through Prayer, Liturgy and Holy Communion through Spiritual Exercises or practices such as a fitness workout or exercise routine (Moroney, 2020).

What is Fitness? When teaching Physical Education at High School level in England one question teachers ask is what are you fit for? The specific goal, purpose and type of training that you choose determines your ability to be fit for your chosen event or activity. The ultimate aim of any fitness activity is to develop a better level of all round wholeness and a healthier lifestyle. The World Health Organization's definition of health is the physical, mental and social well-being of a whole person.

Fitness forms a large part of that, but in some way it does so spirituality, not just physically, mentally or socially. So whether you believe in a higher being, a higher power or a person called Jesus your spiritual fitness may be an area that you are neglecting and need to address. In the message translation of Isaiah 9:6 in the Bible Jesus is described as ”Amazing Counselor, Strong God, Eternal Father, Prince of Wholeness. His ruling authority will grow, and there’ll be no limits to the wholeness he brings.” This paper will explore how we all need to experience Christian Worship and the Prince of Wholeness through Fitness and Holy Communion.