Sometimes, I’m exasperated by the sheer number of times my daughter asks “why?”
Yesterday, after a long day, I asked her to go outside and play just before supper. She asked, “Why?”
Knowing my logical answer would be a bit raw I went the whimsical route (for sanity’s sake). I dutifully explained that over the course of the day, due to a lack of sunshine, argumentative imps had began growing and multiplying on her shoulders. At first whispering in her ears then climbing into her ears and finally crawling out her mouth and attacking her sisters. The only easy cure for this problem, I explained, was sunlight, which melts argumentative imps into nothingness.
This brought out enthusiastic and playful obedience as my daughter went outside with me and asked me to flesh out this new imaginary game.
And as I played in the evening sun with my daughters. Watching with my imagination as the little murky figures on their shoulders dissipated, and their attitudes and dispositions truly transformed, I wondered how much truth my fiction spoke.
In our missionary training we discussed how world view differences that can be so difficult to overcome. Particularly the gulf between the scientific and the animistic world views.
In general my culture adopts a scientific view of the world that is largely mechanical, and completely compartmentalizes the spiritual reality (when it allows for one). The animistic worldview is one of myth, magical thinking, and indivisible interplay between the spiritual and physical world, with all creatures, things, and ideas having spiritual essence. Christians who attempt to submit even their worldview to the truth of scripture have the tricky task of trying to look through the lens of their own worldview at scripture, spot the defects within the lens through which they’re looking, and correct it.
One such defect in my own worldview is an artificial compartmentalization of the spiritual – especially when it comes to medicine. In my worldview there is scarcely any overlap between the physical and spiritual causes and effects. But when that overlap does occur, when the physical and spiritual realities are obviously present together, (in a consistent manifestation of God’s grace) , as in the case of the Lord’s Supper or baptism, we call those nexuses sacrament.
So what if sunlight is not just a calculable photon bombardment, what if it exerts a spiritual force. What if just as it catalyzes reactions in our bodies, triggering the release of chemicals in our brains, it’s does something at the soul level? Or what if, as in my imp explanation, it negatively affects the powers that war against us that are not flesh and blood?
Either way, as a doctor and minister, I recommend at least 10-15 minute of sunshine each day for its salutatory effects.
The Reverend Doctor Nathan
- Sacrament can also be more specifically defined as specific actions that were instituted by the Lord, and commanded to his followers in perpetuity. Clearly, the sacraments that conform to this more narrow definition sacrament are to be performed and reverenced above all others.
The views and opinions expressed in this blog are not the views of Samaritan’s Purse or World Medical Mission.