Free & Fit Scripture & Stretching - A Contemplative Sport & Spirituality Practice - by Tim Cheux

A Final Paper Reflection for a Class at General Seminary Upon the Augsburg Book Publication “Stretch & Pray - A Daily Discipline for Physical and Spiritual Wellness.”

In order to develop a full understanding of how I came to using Sport and Scripture it is

important to set the context of how I became familiar with the concept of stretching and praying. Please note all instructions, moves and physical exercises are intended for the author and are suggestions for inspiration to create workouts and worship sessions of your own.


Each individual person is created uniquely in the image of God. All persons are encouraged to speak to their Doctor, Physician or Physical Trainer or Instructor before willing voluntarily to take part and the author takes no liability for any person who attempts to voluntarily undertake any such movement. Please refer to our terms and conditions here for more information from our Youtube Channel.


https://youtube.com/channel/UCf4gjFopw_eyr6-w7c3bxiQ


This was a journey which began in London in 2013, prior to that Sport had always been a large part of my life throughout school, career and now my life within the Church. Prior to becoming a Christian, I had a struggle with the concept of Sport and Spirituality being compatible. I had no idea that it might be possible for the sport to complement a practice of Spirituality and that you would also be able to read Scripture from the Bible.


In the May of 2013 I started to explore this by starting a running and praying group with a focus on (running together) Sport and (praying together) Spirituality Bible study along the Mall and through Hyde Park.


Figure 1.0 Faith & Fitness London

Source: www.freenfit.org


Firstly, upon the celebration of my confirmation service in 2012 at All Souls Churchin London, I was introduced to Christians in Sport where I would encourage participation in all forms of sport recreationally especially Football (UK), Racquet Sports and Running. In addition, one to one and group exercise classes.


However, it was not until I was attending Church at HTB that I was approached about running a small Sports Bible study group. Secondly, this would include the concept of re-inventing a Prayer and Spirituality group that had been meeting prior to my arrival on Thursday evenings called the “Fitness Fiasco”. After a short time I, along with three other friends, decided to change the name to “Faith and Fitness” and re-launch which in 2015 would become Free & Fit. The mission of Free & Fit is to build community through Sports, the Arts, Outreach and Service. Our motto bible verse was Galatians 5:1 which talks about Freedom in Christ.


It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery (Galatians 5:1).”


Christ came so that we may have freedom from all things through Christ who strengthens me. In the workout from this evening, link enclosed in appendix, I was able to freeze frame pictures and add scriptures to help visualize all that bring pose, posture and positions for prayer. With that in mind let's look at Galatians 5 and how it can help us to find freedom and to stand firm and not be burdened by a yoke of slavery.


Figure 1: Galatians 5:1 Side Plank

Source: Bible You Version App


This pose is called a “side plank” and is seen here with me balancing on my left foot and raising my right hand to the heavens. Its building relations between our Lord and Saviour, our Bodies and our Prayer and Meditation whilst stretching and reminding myself of Christ's freedom from bondage.


It's a great promise and one that brings both a physical and spiritual balance to use through this movement. Similarly, I also did this for 2 Corinthians and a scripture which spoke about Christ's freedom so we can remind ourselves again not to be a burden to slavery, but that we are indeed saved from another debate.


In 2 Corinthians it says “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty [emancipation from bondage, true freedom].”

‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭3:17‬ ‭AMP‬‬


On the more traditional plank position you can see I am

praying and reciting the scripture with again strong pose, position and prayer. These verses have been my loyal friends and support me when alone or in need of some form of a dialogue with God. This is a traditional plank pose on my toes and elbows with a straight back, legs and stomach elevated off the floor.


Figure 1.2 - 2 Corinthians 3:17

Source: Bible You Version App


These positions are not essentially specific movements which relate to the specific movement or exercise, but they can actually be changed and adapted to your own scriptures and stretches to suit what you need. However, for the purposes of being indoors I will make sure to reference when I next enter into an outdoor space that it is prepared with Holy and Almighty God able to adapt and change to the specific experiences of people on a case by case scenarios. The Lords prayer with stretching and praying.


Our Father in heaven hallowed be thy name starts with a stretch between your legs, which are fifteen centre meters further than shoulder width apart, and with your hands stretched out behind your heels. The verse read from the book of Luke states that Jesus said the following beginning to the prayer.


“He said to them, “When you pray, say: ‘ Father, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come.”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭11:2‬ ‭AMP‬‬


All mentions of the Lord's prayer are adapted from the said scripture to form a prayer and not specifically from passages in the Gospels of Matthew or Luke.


Figure 2.0 The Lords Prayer - Luke 11:2

Source: Bible You Version App


Second section of the prayer is thy Kingdom Come, thy will be done on earth as in heaven. Here I begin a leg and arm stretch across my both from right to left, hand to foot and my opposite side reaching high to the sky. From the book of Luke chapter 11 verse 3 it states that Jesus gave the following instruction to pray.


Figure 2.1 The Lords Prayer - Luke 11:3

Source: Bible You Version App


“Give us each day our daily bread.”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭11:3‬ ‭AMP‬‬


Below you can see this stretch and again the said prayer is adapted from the original transcript from Luke. We then look at the forgiveness part of the Lords Prayer.


“And forgive us our sins, For we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us [who has offended or wronged us]. And lead us not into temptation [ but rescue us from evil ].’ ””

‭‭Luke‬ ‭11:4


Then the reverse happens for verse 4 of chapter eleven of the book of Luke. The scripture is again different to the said prayer or liturgical call and response.


Figure 2.2 The Lords Prayer - Luke 11:4



Source: Bible You Version App


The opposite happens with my arms switching left to right with my arms and legs and my right hand now extends to the sky or ceiling.


Within the book itself Stretch and Pray the author uses far clearer instruction with specific poses,

positions and prayers. In our class discussion our class member Lilo described this as being like other positions of Spirituality like a sit, kneel or pray for an Episcopalian or a Muslim through the five different calls to prayer within their tradition and faith. Furthermore, the author, Murray D. Finck, has incorporated scripture to fit with each of the six different positions included in this paper which were referenced in the presentation during class.


These include Adoration, Confession, Absolution, Petition, Intercession, Contemplation and are included in the appendix for the readers benefit and reference. As the author of this paper I would like to add more focus to my own interpretation of the Lord's Prayer, similar to Finck, and add specific poses which are relevant to the Lord's prayer broken down into specific prayer points including focuses like Adoration, Forgiveness, Temptation and other deeper themed parts of the Lord's prayer.


In conclusion, this has brought me back to the basic foundational concepts of running and praying, stretching and praying and reading the Word of God whilst moving with the Body given to us by God. In the Bible it says “For in Him we live and move and exist [that is, in Him we actually have our being], as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children.’” ‭‭Acts‬ ‭17:28‬ ‭AMP‬ Thus meaning that as God's children we can play, we can move, we can sing, we can dance and we can pray with God's word.


In order to provide a deeper and more theological perspective I need to focus on one specific prayer, bible passage and produce a step by step guide similar to what is in the prayer and stretch book and to what I have tried to foster in the Lord's Prayer. Scripture, Prayers, Song and Psalms could be said or sung whilst working out and worshipping to the Lord our God. Amen!


Appendix - Movements Taken from the Pray and Stretch Book








Source: Murray D Finck (2005).


Appendix - Lords Prayer Video Practice


Tonights Stretch and Scripture video.


Youtube Link:


https://youtu.be/qELespB1oTA


“Become intimate with him in whatever you do, and he will lead you wherever you go.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭3:6‬ ‭TPT‬‬


Source: Free and Fit NYC Youtube Channel


Bibliography


Bible You Version App, (2021), Bible Verses and Pictures, You Version Bible Phone Application. Accessed 2021: Source: Accessed Hoboken New Jersey


https://www.bible.com


Bible You Version App, (2021), The Book of Luke, You Version Bible Phone Application. Accessed 2021: Source: Accessed Hoboken New Jersey


“He said to them, “When you pray, say: ‘ Father, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, For we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us [who has offended or wronged us]. And lead us not into temptation [ but rescue us from evil ].’ ””

‭‭Luke‬ ‭11:2-4‬ ‭AMP‬‬


https://www.bible.com/1588/luk.11.2-4.amp


Chew, Timothy (2015), “Free and Fit London”,

Church of England London Diocese Article. Accessed 2021: Source: Accessed Hoboken New Jersey

http://www.london.anglican.org/articles/faith-and-fitness


Cheux, Timothy, (2020), Free and Fit NYC, Blog Posts and Story Section of Website. Accessed 2021: Source: Accessed Hoboken New Jersey

https://www.freenfit.org/free-fit


Cheux, Timothy, (2021), Free and Fit NYC Youtube Channel, About Us Section of Youtube Channell. Accessed: 2021 Source: Accessed: Hoboken New Jersey

https://youtube.com/channel/UCf4gjFopw_eyr6-w7c3bxiQ


Murray D Finck (2005), Stretch and Pray: A Daily Discipline for Physical and Spiritual Wellness, Healthy Leaders and Healthy Lives, Ausburg Books


Love & Blessings F&F Team

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