EChurch@Wartburg 12/23/18

Welcome to a Gathering of EChurch@Wartburg

Christmas Church

Advent Prayer by Henri J.M. Nouwen

Lord Jesus,
Master of both the light and the darkness,
send your Holy Spirit upon our preparations for Christmas.
We who have so much to do seek quiet spaces to hear your voice each day.
We who are anxious over many things look forward to your coming among us.
We who are blessed in so many ways long for the complete joy of your kingdom.
We whose hearts are heavy seek the joy of your presence.
We are your people, walking in darkness, yet seeking the light.
To you we say, “Come, Lord Jesus!”

A Christmas Prayer by Robert Louis Stevenson

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.

Hosea 11:1

When Israel was a child, I loved him,
And out of Egypt I called My son.

Wade Burleson: Out of Egypt I Called My Son from Emmanuel Enid on Vimeo.

Christmas blessing — Cara Heafey, UK

Let us go from this place proclaiming
that we have seen the glory of God
Believing that there is a light that shines in the darkness
Which the darkness shall not overcome
And may the love of the Creator
The joy of the Spirit
And the peace of the Christ-child
Be with you this Christmas, and evermore


EChurch@Wartburg 12/23/18 — 5 Comments

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    I discovered TWW last spring as my local church was in painful upheaval and losing beloved brothers and sisters around trust issues with leaders. I was wrestling with “discipline” choices that seemed to be silencing issues and questions that were to my ear important to name and address. These seemed connected to a belief that our leaders are given by God, and so should be honored. I have found this season bringing up a long personal history of being silenced, and helping me recognize what abusive leadership is, recognizing and turning from my complicity with being silenced, and seeking to walk in the light as Christ, full of truth and grace. I have learned much from the posts here and varied comments and have deeply appreciated a space where the experiences, questions, and beliefs of each are welcomed to come into the light. This place has been part of my healing and growth as I seek understanding of godly authority.
    So I listened to the sermon and appreciated the probing into the Messiah as Israel and fulfillment of the law and feasts, and the desire for the hearers to not be under the law but found in Christ. I was not expecting to be triggered, but around minute 6:00 when the speaker refers to the New Testament testimony saying the Hosea text was fulfilled in Jesus and now he wanted to “show convince and me to listen carefully”, I felt very uncomfortable, but made myself listen through. I can hear on the one hand he wants me to know Christ and be found in Him. I also felt the choice to show and convince me of what GOD had just said to be His assessment shifted the ground of authority. For me, once God has spoken in His Word I don’t need a human to verify it. As I wrestle with this I see the value of preaching. Yes speak boldly and clearly what God has said to be reality, but I will then think and decide for myself what I will do with what is said, and that is holy ground between me and my God. To want to see me convinced of what God has spoken I can see as love for me, but to feel the need or responsibility to convince me or prove it to me seems to cross into “I need to speak for you to hear and believe God.” And that seems to be the problem over and over in church leaders being discussed on this blog, a sense they need to have the final say or thinking for you to have heard God or walk with God. The desire to help me know God not grounded in a profound respect for this soul and faith in the power and wisdom of God to save her, can easily become control, judgment, manipulation. The result of this “Care for my soul” belittles my capacity to hear the Spirit, belittles the WORD as sharp enough to penetrate to my core, and excise sin and error and enable me to live, and makes the speaker more integral to my salvation than he should be. I am wondering if this is a result of not grasping the fear of God that is the beginning of knowledge, ending with a way that seems right but whose end is destruction? The question still on my heart is how does one “feed my sheep” so that one nourishes, not trespasses the Holy Ground of the Soul and her Beloved?

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    I’m sorry that I haven’t commented on anything lately. It’s been a very rough year for me. I had to take a break from a lot of things. I do know that God is still good to me. He’s seen me thru the grief of losing both my parents this year 9 weeks apart. Of losing an uncle and several other relatives. My family is celebrating Christmas this year, remembering our relatives that are spending their first Christmas in Heaven with Jesus. May God continually bless each and everyone here.

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    Harley, I am so sorry for your very tough year and oh my, losing both your parents so close. My mother is in the last days of hospice after a long battle with dementia and has been absolutely miserable. My father suffered and died over Christmas time many years ago and remembering that with this one it is indeed a tough Christmas season. On the other hand I have a special needs 2 year old grandson that I get to spoil, so keeping my mind on the joy of his preciousness. I am so thankful to Dee and Deb for putting this awesome page on their website. It really lifted my spirit this Christmas Eve morning.