Connections 01.14.2024: The Magnificence of Humanity

1 Corinthians 6:12-20; Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18

Look around you today. Wherever you happen to go—church, the store, a neighborhood walk, or even just your home—notice other people. See the young family in the next pew, trying to calm their wiggly children during the passing of offering plates. See the exhausted woman at the checkout counter, standing on her feet for hours and still giving you a smile. See the older man with the dog he can barely keep up with, pausing to ask how you are. See your spouse, your children, your other housemates. See yourself.

Our lesson texts highlight the magnificence of human beings—creatures designed and made by God to live on the earth, care for it and other people, and serve the Lord with honor, devotion, and respect.

Paul focuses on human behaviors that veer far away from God’s design. He specifically mentions sexual immorality—a problem in first-century Corinth and certainly a problem in any twenty-first-century city. His main point, though, is that we are made to be so much better than that. Sure, we can do basically whatever we want to do. But why would we do anything that harms others or ourselves? Paul’s powerful question should remind us exactly who and whose we are: “do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own?” (v. 19).

The psalmist, in one of the most intimate prayers in the Old Testament, describes God’s relationship with him—and with each individual human. God made each of us. God knows each of us better than we know ourselves. God saw us before our earthly existence and will see us through our lives with God’s hand upon us. When we come to the end, God will still be there.

Both writers insist on the holiness of God’s creation of humanity. Paul urges us to glorify God in our bodies (v. 20). The psalmist evokes images of a caring God with deep knowledge of each unique person and praises God that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (v. 14). Human beings truly are magnificent.

Discussion

• What people have you encountered today? What did you notice about them?
• What does it mean to be “a temple of the Holy Spirit”?
• What does it mean to be “fearfully and wonderfully made”?
• How might it change your day if you view each person as “a temple of the Holy Spirit” and as “fearfully and wonderfully made”?
• Do you believe that you are these things? If not, what work can you do to see yourself more the way God sees you?

Kelley Land, a graduate of Mercer University (BA in English, 2000), has been an assistant editor of Smyth & Helwys curriculum and books since 2001. In addition, she is a freelance editor for other publishers and authors. She also regularly volunteers for Jay’s HOPE, a nonprofit serving families of children with cancer. Kelley enjoys spending time with her teenage daughters, Samantha and Natalie, her husband John, and the family’s two dachshund mix pups, Luke and Leia. She likes supporting community theatre productions and is often found playing board games with a group of rowdy friends. She loves Marvel, Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Doctor Who. And she always has one book going and several more waiting to be read!

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