Intro: UniteBoston was inspired by Derek Arledge’s devotion to attend the various gatherings around the city during the 10 Days of Prayer in October. This week, Derek Arledge draws some fascinating parallels from his experience with 10 Days Boston and his background in fitness.
”What is that echo?”
”Oh my! Everyone is praying again.“
"Are your arms tired for worshipping so much? My shoulders are getting sore.”
"I’m so hungry; I can’t wait to have communion again.”
Church is a part of life, whether folks like it or not.
But fitness is also a part of life, whether folks like it or not. Sigh.
I was recently a part of 10 Days Boston, a ten day gathering of worship and prayer around Greater Boston. I had the opportunity to visit other denominations as a way of promoting unity among various churches in the Greater Boston Area.
While some rank Boston as one of the least spiritually-minded cities in the nation (with a score of 98 out of 100,) my experience proved otherwise. By encouraging followers of Christ to consider others with love, intrigue, fervor, and an open heart rather than bias, I have seen how 10 Days Boston breaks barriers and builds relationships to express unity the way God desires.
Additionally, I found that God also has a lot of humor that unexpectedly snuck up on me. Oh yes! If you attend a different church every day for one week, then you have to be physically able, trained and ready for the experience.
This brings me to share a bit about fitness. Boston is a dynamic place highlighting many aspects of health; some even consider Boston to be the health mecca of the United States. In fact, there are many parallels between fitness and church, and UniteBoston hints at this parallel. Although there are many houses of the Lord, Boston is not currently known as an area filled with life-giving churches. Someone has to be willing to meet these individuals that are all in for God to dispel the negative stereotype of a church-less Greater Boston Area. So, my encouragement to Christians in Boston is to have an active mind, body and spirit in exploring what God is doing in the city. Indeed, your spirit is the smartest of the three. Let me explain.
During 10 Days, I experienced a Korean worship gathering for the first time. This opened my mind to a different way of worship and prayer. In fact, I felt that the convenience of having a translator and headphones enriched my worship experience. As each person prayed, it was very similar to being in a group exercise class. The sanctuary was rightfully dark and intimate like a spin class in the evening. But here at the worship service, the “instructors” kept changing, each person expressing his/her own genre of energy expenditure. This only made me desire more of God and inspire my curiosity to see what the next day would be like.
The next service I attended was the Taize service at Trinity Church. Below is a selfie of my wife Chandace and I at the Taize prayer gathering on Sunday evening.
The last time I heard Latin spoken was at Gonzaga High School, so it was somewhat of a shock for me to hear this in a Taize service in a preserved church in the middle of downtown Boston. Honestly, this makes exercising in the oldest YMCA in the middle of downtown Boston a run for its sweat. Sometimes, you just enter a service and everything feels sacred. And sometimes…you enter a gym for the first time and everything feels sacred and sweaty. But, the former wins!
After a few days of re-arranging everything on your schedule and getting your family organized to attend these various churches, you thank the Lord that you can actually move well. Then, He reminds you that you need to nourish yourself throughout the day and stretch.
Why? A properly nourished individual will want to eat again if they move more. Hence, one take at communion should make a budding, adventurous, and curious churchgoer hungry for more communion and the body of Christ. “Be still” for one second, because as you lift your arms and open your palms as a sign of receiving the Lord, your deltoids begin to develop lactic acid. Lactic acid gets the bad rep of tiring out your muscles, but I think it brings us back to the Lord to remind us that He is where we draw our strength from.
Practice makes perfect. The energetic services at these UniteBoston gatherings included many prayers. Many people were blessed as a result of lifting hands high. As Christians became healthier spiritually, I believe that the city of Boston and indeed the world was impacted mightily.
All in all, I learned that the city of Boston has some serious worshippers. In my mind, Boston is not only a city that is among the first in health but also a city known for its love towards the Lord!
By Derek Arledge, http://derekteempt.blogspot.com