By Pastor Lisa Isenhower

On Monday afternoon, Rev. Paul Aebischer from Portico Benefits Services led a discussion around healthy lifestyles for about 20 participants. He opened with a reflection on John 5:1-18, which relates the story of Jesus’ healing of a paralytic on the Sabbath. Participants discussed this healing miracle, focusing on Jesus’ question to the man: “Do you want to be made well?”

This question was a springboard for conversation about those things that keep us from engaging healthier eating and exercise habits. Many observed that even congregational fellowship can be a barrier to healthy living when so much fellowship revolves around sharing food, and many of our favorite shared foods are not the healthiest ones. Several members of the group shared small but helpful ways that they or their congregations are encouraging and adopting healthier lifestyles.

Participants also viewed a fascinating film called “How Wolves Change Rivers,” which relates the amazing story of how, when wolves were reintroduced to the environment at Yellowstone National Park to reduce the deer population, the whole environment was transformed. Plants and animals that had been missing from the environment for many years, returned. This transformation, known as a tropic cascade, has profoundly changed the landscape of Yellowstone. This story of a small change leading to much larger—and even surprising—changes in the environment offered hope and encouragement for participants looking to make changes toward healthier lifestyles.

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