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MeaghanMcGann

Dr.Hunt
Physiology
24April2015

ThePhysiologyofRunningandtheBodyofChrist

Ilovetorun.Imnotveryfast,andImnotverygood,butitssomethingIknowIcando.
IthinkthereasonIfirststartedrunningwasbecauseIlovedbeingactive,butIwasnt
coordinatedenoughtodoanyothersport.ThissemesterIdecidedtotrainforamarathon,kind
ofasahurrahtoturning21attheendoftheyear.IdontthinkIquiteanticipatedthefullextent
ofthediscipline,painandjoythatthisendeavorwouldentail.
AsIrun,Ioftenlistentomusic.LatelyIvebeentryingtoalsosetasideatleastoneof
myrunsaweektonotlistentoanythingandtojustpray,thinkandobserve.Thoughthisdoesnt
changethefactthatsomedaysitiscold,Imtired,IhaveabigPhysiologytesttostudyfor,and
thelastthingIwanttodoisgoforarun,thispracticehasbecomeveryinfluentialinmanyways.
Ithasallowedmetobecomemuchmoreawareofandthankfulformybody.NotbecauseI
necessarilyalwayslovemybody,butbecauseitsthebodyGodgavemeandbecauseIT
WORKS.SometimesasImrunningalong,tryingtothinkaboutanythingotherthanmynext
desperatebreath,Iamcompletelystruckbytheamazingcomplexityofitall.Icansynchronize
mymusclesmovementssothatIcanputonefootinfrontofanother.Myheartcanregulateand
alteritsbeatsothatappropriateamountsofoxygenandnutrientscanbepumpedtomymuscles
andtissuecellsastheirdemandsincrease.Icanbreatheinoxygenthroughmymouthandthis
oxygencanbetransporteddownthroughmytracheatomylungs,whereitwillbeconductedto
mybronchi,andthentomybronchioles,andthentomyalveolarductsandthenmyalveolar

sacs.Frommyalveolarsacsitcandiffuseintomybloodstreamsothatoxygencanbetransported
throughmyveinsandarteriestotherestofmybodyinordertosupplytheoxygennecessaryfor
metabolicactivityinmymusclesandtissuecells.Itsamazingthattheintensityofmyexercise
canaffectmybloodpH,thatthemorecarbondioxideIcontaininmyblood,themoreacidicmy
bloodpHwillbeandthatthemoremetabolicactivitymymusclesundergo,themorecarbon
dioxidetheywillproduce.ItsamazingthatthechangeinmypHbroughtaboutbyanincreasein
carbondioxidecanchangetheshapeofmyhemoglobinmoleculessothattheyhavelessaffinity
totheoxygenthatisdiffusingthroughmyalveolarsacs.Itsamazingthatthisallowsmy
hemoglobintogiveupoxygenmoreeasilysothatIcanresupplymytissuescellswiththe
increasedoxygenIneedinorderformybodytomaintaintheabilitytorunandperformother
metabolicactivities.
Thecomplexityofthebodyissointricate.Inmylimitedknowledgeofphysiology,I
cantthinkofasinglefunctionthatdoesntdependonorinfluenceanotherphysiological
function.Thisalsobringstomind,allthedysfunctionthatcouldpotentiallyoccurifone
componentdecidedtoquit.Forexample,whatifmyhemoglobindecidedithadenough.Itwas
tiredofchangingshapeandwantedtomaintainitsaffinityforoxygen.Asmyhemoglobin
movedthroughmybloodvessels,itdefiantlyrefusedtogiveupanymoreoxygen.Or,onamore
physiologicallypossiblescale,whatifscrapedmylegonareallybigthornwhileIwasrunning
andstartedtolosealotofblood.Myredbloodcellcountrapidlydecreasedandconsequentlymy
bloodhemoglobincontentalsodecreased.Duetothelimitedamountofhemoglobin,lessoxygen
couldgettomymuscles.TheoxygenrequiredforbreakingdowntheglucoseIneedtoprovide
theenergynecessaryforsustainedmetabolicactivitywouldnotbeavailable.Afteratime,my

muscleswouldslowlylosetheabilitytoproduceanyenergyatallandwouldshutdown.Thus
illustratedistheintricatedependencyandcomplexityofonebodypartonanotherintheefficient
andproperfunctioningofthewhole.
In1Corinthians12,Pauldelineateshowthechurchisakintothehumanbody:Justasa
body,thoughone,hasmanyparts,butallitsmanypartsformonebody,soitiswithChrist.He
emphasizesthedifferentpartsofthebodyandhoweachpart,thoughapparentlysodifferentin
useandfunction,playsamajorroleintheproperworkingoftheentirebody.Insimilarways,
Godcreateddiversitywithinthechurch.Ittoohasmanyholisticneedsthatcanonlybemet
throughspecific,diversegiftingsandcallings.Thehumanbodyismadeupoftwelvesystems.
Thougheachsystemhasitsownorgansandfunctions,theystillremainsapartofthewhole
body.Similarly,Therearedifferentkindsofgifts,butthesameSpiritdistributesthem.Paul
emphasizesthecrucialimportanceoflessdesirableaspectsofthehumanbodyastheyparallel
seeminglylessdesirablecallingsoftheChurch.Forexample,acallingtoteachthrougha
pastoratemayappeartobeamuchmoreprestigiouscallingandgiftingthanthosewhoworkin
ministeringtochildren.Paulcommentsthat:Onthecontrary,thosepartsofthebodythatseem
tobeweakerareindispensable.AsIillustratedwiththehemoglobinexample,eventhesmallest
functionsofthebodycanhaveamajorinfluenceintheworkingofthewhole.Inthesameway,
eachcallingandgiftingwithinthechurchiscrucialinpursuingChristskingdom.