EChurch@Wartburg – 12.9.12

Welcome to Our Gathering of EChurch@Wartburg

Richard Huber Wikicommons

Here is our order of worship

A Christmas Prayer by Robert Louis Stevenson link

Loving Father, Help us remember the birth of Jesus,
that we may share in the song of the angels,
the gladness of the shepherds,
and worship of the wise men.

Close the door of hate and open the door of love all over the world.
Let kindness come with every gift and good desires with every greeting.
Deliver us from evil by the blessing which Christ brings, and teach us to be merry with clear hearts.

May the Christmas morning make us happy to be thy children,
and Christmas evening bring us to our beds with grateful thoughts, forgiving and forgiven, for Jesus' sake.

Anglican Prayer for Second Sunday of Advent
1979 Book of Common Prayer

Merciful God,
who sent thy messengers the prophets to
preach repentance
and prepare the way for our salvation:
Give us grace to heed their warnings
and forsake our sins,
that we may greet with joy
the coming of Jesus Christ our Redeemer;
who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

If you are new to EChurch, please click on this link for an explanation
Scripture Reading:  Daniel 11:32b (NASB Bible Gateway)

the people who know their God will display strength and take action.

John 4:24 (NASB Bible Gateway)

God is spirit…

A Christmas Prayer by St. Augustine of Hippo (AD 354-440)

Let the just rejoice,
for their justifier is born.
Let the sick and infirm rejoice,
For their saviour is born.
Let the captives rejoice,
For their Redeemer is born.
Let slaves rejoice,
for their Master is born.
Let free men rejoice,
For their Liberator is born.
Let All Christians rejoice,
For Jesus Christ is born.

Advent Benediction link

May you live this week with an eternal perspective.
Live as if God has come among us,
because He has.
Live as if God has revealed himself to you and called you to love and good works
because He has
Live in anticipation of the reconciliation of all creation to God
because it is coming.
Live as if your life depended upon God’s grace
because it does.


EChurch@Wartburg – 12.9.12 — 22 Comments

  1. Really loved your message, Wade! Very timely for me right now. Shared two different places. Thank you!

    Advent Benediction: amazing words to think on, love it.

  2. Excellent, powerful sermon! Thank you!

    Beautiful hymns as well!

    And I’m curious about the very lovely church picture above.

  3. Great message Wade, I needed to hear about God as better than an earthly mother today – great sermon.

  4. Pastor Burleson,
    Powerful Message! And may it spread far abroad in the land righting the wrongs of the past.

  5. Thanks for all the comments E-Church Wartburgers! Appreciate each and every one of you and your unique and important contributions to the body of Christ. I trust this series will continue to be an encouragement in your spiritual journey.

  6. I was delighted to find this Advent Benediction. When I clicked on the link, I discovered that it was on the website of a church in the Vancouver, Canada area. This church is on the north side, North Vancouver. I knew of some of its leaders over its history in the area. I hope to include this Advent Blessing as often and in as many ways as possible. 🙂

  7. I can say Hi and Thanks to the folks at CapChurch, which is short for Capilano, which is a Westcoast Indian name. Wonder where they got it from or it they composed it themselves? Anyway, short and sweet, clear and true!!

  8. I mostly read here, and usually just skim over the EChurch posts (usually one sermon a week at my own church is enough, no offence!) but the subject matter of this week’s sermon caught my eye. While it is safe to say that we are very different flavors of Christians, Pastor Burleson, it is also very safe to say that on this subject (with a nitpick or two I will let go) we are in full agreement! I appreciate hearing this, as I worry so much for women who are oppressed by their faith, and men who feel they must oppress others in the service of theirs. Christ came to free us, not bind us!

  9. Rachel,

    Thank you for your comment! Your final statement bears repeating:

    “I appreciate hearing this, as I worry so much for women who are oppressed by their faith, and men who feel they must oppress others in the service of theirs. Christ came to free us, not bind us!”

    You may want to listening to the next four messages from Pastor Wade.


  10. Oh, I will! A lot of people need to hear these. For me, pun intended, it’s preaching to the choir. 🙂

  11. Thank you for this amazing sermon, Wade. It was very encouraging to me. I rarely get to listen, but am on the road and decided to do e-church this week. I’m so glad I did. I plan to listen to the entire series. And I have recommended it to several friends. I need anything I can get to counteract years of traditional teachings designed to control women. Again, a big “Thank you!”

  12. The message that both genders are created in the image of God is so healing to me. It is the ONLY thing that helps me see myself and other women in an honorable light i.e. not sex toys created for men, which is the programming I received from childhood abuse. It is the ONLY message that reverses my thinking and erases my self-hatred, the desire to hurt myself etc. Because if I believe women are the image of God, how can I feel anything but absolute awe that I am a woman?! How can I not feel so honored to be who I am, so joyful (joyful?!) so full of self-respect, so incredible, so loved?

    Just the night before this was posted, I was crying my eyes out, telling God that I was falling back into that destructive, negative kind of thinking and believing….and just hours before I watched, I was talking with someone about this very subject. Is that perfect, amazing timing or what? For a while I doubted it was possible that anyone else on this planet could have been as affected by this message as I was, because of the tremendous miracle in my thinking etc. But that’s not true, I know…

    However…now I have hit a brick wall. I cannot resist asking a question here, in case Wade or anyone else can help me understand (with a simple answer, since my brain hurts): Since God is spirit and not gendered, what can we say about our physical bodies? Are our gendered bodies also an expression of who God is, in a sense? Physical expressions of the feminine and masculine characteristics that God possesses? This is confusing me, because since humans are not the only gendered creatures, can I really say that gender is part of the image? Or is it, when it is part of who a human being is? I am desperate for an answer, but afraid at the same time. Because the bottom line is, if I can no longer regard my female body as part of the image of God, somehow also part of the expression of who God is…then I will fall back down into despair and self-hatred…and that will not be good.

  13. Oasis,

    Your comment is so refreshing. Your raw vulnerability, transparent honesty, and personal inquiry is rare, but needed among us all. Let me take a stab at each of your questions. I think some of what you are wrestling with will be answered in the following two lessons from this series “When God Became Human” and “Knowing God as Father and Mother,” but I will take the time to give you a personal answer. I am sitting at my kitchen table and typing “off the top of my head” (an expression meaning no notes or Bible), so be patient with me. I am heading out of town and will be gone for the next couple of days so I will not be able to follow up like I would like, but know you will be in my thoughts and prayers.

    (1). Since God is spirit and not gendered, what can we say about our physical bodies?

    Our bodies ARE made in the image of God. God possesses both masculine and feminine attributes, and our bodies reflect those attributes. For example, God’s power and strength are pictured in the testosterone and muscles of the man. This does NOT mean that a woman cannot be strong and powerful, but on the whole, one of the reasons that men’s athletic records cannot be matched by women is because the male represents the masculine attributes of power and strength. In the same manner, the womb and breasts of the female represents God’s attributes of nurture, care, tenderness and provision for His children–thus as John Calvin correctly points out in his commentary on Isaiah, “God is sometimes represented in Scripture as female and we are the fruit of His womb.” In addition, the Hebrew name for God “El Shaddai” (translated “God Almighty”) actually means “God with breasts” (or twin peaks), and represents for us that the spirit Creator sustains His children in the tender and affectionate mother/child relationship. Interestingly, when the Apostle John represents Jesus the Anointed One in His full glory in the Revelation, John says, “His breasts were girded with a sache.” Most translations refuse to translate the Greek word as “breasts” and substitute the word chest (male), because it is hard to see how Jesus Christ has breasts. However, if you understand that “in Christ all the fulness of the Deity lives,” then you have no problem with the apocalyptic image of the Warrior King being imaged as a nursing mother to His children – for God is spirit and possesses the characteristics and attributes of both genders. What you must remember is that the physical is only a picture of the eternal. When Jesus performed a physical miracle, it was always because He was representing an eternal truth. So too, the physical body is only a TYPE of the eternal character of God, who is spirit.

    (2). Are our gendered bodies also an expression of who God is, in a sense?

    Absolutely. In a sense is the appropriate caveat. Some human, physical bodies are deformed at birth. Some humans have been given both a male penis and a woman’s vagina. Though these occurances are rare, the human beings who have deformities of physical characteristics associated with gender are NO LESS HUMAN. The physical only represents the eternal God “in a sense.” In other words, I would say to any hermaphrodite that identity is not found in the sexual organ, but in the personhood (God’s image). The body only represents what is spiritual and eternal.

    (3). Can I really say that gender (phsically) is a part of God’s image?

    Of course you can! Like I said above, breasts and the womb represent love, nurture and care. The male sexual organs and the testosterone of muscles represnt strength, power, and stamina. When a man being becomes a child of God through faith in Jesus Christ, the life of God takes up residence in the soul of that man. Therefore, the strong and powerful man can be at the same time a gentle, tender and nurturing male! The life of the spirit God who possesses both masculine and feminine attributes is in him. Likewise, the female who comes to faith in Jesus Christ has the life of God within her. The strength of character, power in leadership, and anointing needed to persevere is hers because of Christ. The physical only represents the eternal character of God. With just a few exceptions, the Christian woman will never be as strong physically as the Christian man while living on earth, but male physical strength ONLY REPRESENTS the quality of strength of character and personhood which is present in the image of God. All believers have this strength, not just males.

    (4). Is (physical gender) part of who a human is?

    My last answer to this question is conjecture. This side of death and the eternal kingdom, we are males and females physically. Jesus said that “in heaven, there is neither marriage nor the giving in marriage.” Since there is no procreation in heaven, there is a very real possiblity that in the resurrected body there will be no sexual organs. Again, this is just conjecture, but I am not the only one who has thought this. If I am correct, then the sexual organs DO NOT DEFINE HUMANITY. What defines humanity is the image of God. If you want to know what the Perfect Human should look like, look to Jesus. In Jesus Christ, all the fullness of the spirit Deity lives, and in Him, all the feminine and masculine attributes of God were present. If a man wants to know how to live, look to Jesus. If a woman wants to know how to live, look to Jesus. Sure, Jesus was a physical man, but the sexual organ does not define humanity — it is only an emblem of the eternal character of God (in the same manner breasts and the womb picture God’s character).

    Oasis, I hope this helps. I trust that God will continue to bring healing to you. The scars of sexual abuse are deep. I am praying the Balm of Gilead will turn those scars into a glorious testimony of grace. Frankly, when you commented above, I thought to myself, “Wow!! Oasis gets it. She IS IN THE IMAGE OF GOD, and the men who abused her will ANSWER TO GOD.”

    Keep on finding yourself in the God who loved you enough to create you in His image, and don’t let any man’s sick desire to use a woman as a sex object define who you are.

  14. Wade,

    Thank you for your thoughtful response to Oasis. You are a true servant of God.

    Praying for safe travels.