Exercising the Kingdom

I love my gym. ?I work out at a Lady of America about a mile from my house 4-5 times a week, first thing in the morning. The names of the classes sound painful (cardio kickboxing, cardio interval, bootcamp, step ‘n sculpt) but they feel wonderful. ?At least, when they’re over, they do.

What I love about my gym is the variety of women: every shape, age, skin color, fitness level. ?Some women come in quite a few minutes early so they can remove their headwraps and long robes in the dressing room. ?Others come in with a baby and/or a toddler in tow, and wear a sticker with their kid’s number on the T-shirt they’re sweating up. ?Some, like me, come rushing in at the last moment because we just dropped a child off at school.

We smile at each other, say hello, pass the word along as to which dumbbells we’ll be needing today. ?Oftentimes we can’t say much more, there are many women who don’t speak English. ?The music kicks up and we don’t need any more words, we just start moving.

I’ve been to other gyms where everyone wore spandex over great, toned bodies. ?The kind of place you take a shower and fix your hair before you work out. ?See why I don’t go to those places anymore? ?At this gym we’re in old cotton T-shirts with slogans that often give clues as to who we are. ?I don’t usually comb my hair before I go, I do all that afterwards.

The spirit of the gym is always congenial. We are each happy that we made it there, to sweat together, to groan, to finish, gladly, and go back out into the day, which will be a better day because we were together.

I wish church was a little more like this: coming together with warm greetings, sweating together, then an hour later going back into the wider world, enriched by the time we spent. ?Doesn’t that sound a little like the Kingdom of God?


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