Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Union // In Blue Maxis

Hey y'all! Well, I really did not expect to be as busy as I was last week. I have an endless list of self-imposed housekeeping items (like hanging things on the wall, decluttering, purging...) that is consuming me and although blogging is on my mind, it's not really in my schedule. :D

Sunday was such a great day. I love and cherish my church family so, so much. It was just an "ordinary" Lord's Day, but with only 52 in a year, each one is special and to be treasured.

The sermon continued Romans 6 with verses 3 + 4. These verses are usually used in discussions on modes of baptism, but my pastor pointed out that Paul's purpose here is to draw attention to our unity with Christ.
I went through and labeled all the church outfit posts that have summaries of Romans sermons in case anyone wants to go through and read them. This post is number 25, wow. My summaries started out really short and now I enjoy this so much (and I think y'all do too) that they've gotten much longer. :)
 
Paul uses the phrase, "In Him" or "Into Christ" over and over in his writings in ways that Greek and Hebrew scholars have not found in other ancient texts. This terminology is unique to God's teachings. Ephesians 1:11, 1:13, 2:6, 2:10, are just a few verses with this phrase. Two main things to keep in mind about this doctrine:
I. We are united with Christ representatively. We talked about that in chapter 5 in relation to the picture of Adam and Christ.
II. We are united with Christ mystically. Don't let that word scare you. It simply means a spiritual truth that surpasses human comprehension because it transcends our understanding. It's so awesome, we can't figure it out.
 
The illustration my pastor used to help to explain this "into" meaning is that of an organ transplant. When an organ is taken from someone and placed into the patient, that organ becomes part of that patient. Part of the one body. Wherever the body goes, so goes the organ. When the body is sick, the organ suffers, and when the organ is struggling, it effects the whole body. Obviously this analogy breaks down at somepoint, but do you see how what was once outside the body can be placed into it and become one with it? This is sort of like our union with Christ. Couple points about it:
 
1) It is a spiritual union. But the spiritual is never in contrast to the physical-- that would be gnostic thinking. The spiritual and the physical are closely linked in the Bible, so we need to make sure we don't separate them. Instead, this spiritual union is in contrast to the fleshy, carnal desires of our old man. It's an operation of the Holy Spirit.
 
There is a deliberate connection between the literal and the metaphorical in the pictures God gives us throughout Scripture. He often uses the terms interchangeably and in the same passages so that we automatically associate one with the other. The body of Christ for example is a term used for the actual body of Christ that is seated at the right hand of God and the believers surrounding you in the pews on Sunday morning. We become one with His body when we are saved and baptized (although I believe it is majorly important that you be baptized, it is not required to go to heaven). This is why it is so important to be a member of a Bible-believing church. We are an "organ" in Christ's body, a member. Everything a believer experiences he does as part of the body. Not in isolation. What affects one member affects them all, in little ways, in big ways, in ways we may never know.
Something I found very convicting and inspiring is that because we are Christ's body and He is our head (we are also His bride and He is our head in that capacity too) who is seated with God, the only glimpse of Christ the world will have is of His body-- us-- who are still on this earth. This is why we are told to be Jesus to others; we are the only Jesus some will ever see. This works the other way too. Whatever the head experiences, the body experiences as well. That means we get all the benefits of communion with God! In Christ we have a spiritual union, but it includes our flesh and bones, which do the work of the Lord on this earth. If that realization doesn't give us purpose, I don't know what will!

2) It is a spiritual communion. Because we the body live in connection with the Head, when Christ died on the cross, we died too. When He was raised to newness of life, so we were given life. This totally demands a change in our nature, doesn't it? It also means that we get to commune in His work with Him. This reigning with Christ thing is not a prophesy or something in the future. This is right now. As I sit here half in PJ's with greasy hair and a desk so cluttered I can hardly type, I am reigning. We ought not to live any part of our lives not in the reality that we are with Him. We are there-- with God-- with Christ. But also here on this earth being the physical body of Christ. Kind of awesome.
 
3) We are united vitally. God uses a lot of pictures with organic entities. John 6 says it's not the mechanics of what we eat at the Lord's Supper, but the consequences of it. When we sup on the body and blood of Christ, we have Him as our sustenance. I don't discuss the Lord's Supper here much because there is such a hugely rich theology behind it that I don't want to screw it up in my relaying of the pictures/doctrines/meanings behind it, but here in talking about our union with Christ, I think it's important to note that just as the metaphorical and physical are often interchanged in Scripture to show us a truth, the Lord's Supper is a way of physically showing us that God will sustain us. When we symbolically (and actually, because Christ is there at His table) eat with God, it is a means of grace to us. Nourishment from the Lord. We get no where without His sustenance. I'm very thankful our church does weekly communion, because week after week after week, I am reminded that He is the life-giving bread.
 
There is a sense in which God only sees the Body through the Head, just as the world only sees the Head through the body, like I was saying. Remember the vine and branches analogy in John 15? We are grafted in to His vine-- we get our life from Him. Union with Christ involves a communion, an abiding, in Him. We can't just check-in with Jesus every couple months to make sure our life is on track and then continue on our way. This analogy implies a dependence on Him for our very lives.
 
4) We are united intimately with Christ. Marriage is the analogy here. 1 Corinthians 6:17 says we are joined to the Lord with one spirit, as a husband and wife should be joined. Ephesians 5 tells men to love their wives as their own bodies, just as Christ gave His life for His bride-- us!
 
5) We are united eternally in Christ. Before time, we were chosen by God. He accepts us no less than Christ. We need to know this, reckon it, and present this into our daily lives. That process we covered last week.
 
We are inseparably connected to Christ. We are flesh of flesh, bones of bones like Adam said of Eve. The eating of the Lord's Supper is made efficacious to us spiritually because we are united with Him. We can live victoriously! We eat and breath and have our being in Him. He has given us life and godliness and strength to do His purposes. May we live knowing we are one with His body.
 
"But, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love." ~ Ephesians 4:15-16.

The joke at church this week was that I have now worn a different outfit to church every week for 19 months and where do I keep all these clothes?! I like to rotate my wardrobe and my sisters wear all this stuff too, so it's not like I only wear an item once. We pretty much wear our clothes until they wear out. :) My sister Emma wore a similar outfit to one I wore on Palm Sunday, but she switched out the color of the fedora and cardigan... and belt. :D

Why did I wear a skirt under the dress? Well, although this dress is long enough for modesty, it is an awkward length for flattering. Without the added length, the silhouette and eye-flow is choppy and I would look much shorter and more 90's. :)

Emma:
Hat: Charming Charlie's: $5
Cardigan: Forever21: $8
Dress: JCPenny's, Olsenboye, $15, came with belt
Shoes: Payless: $10
 
Olivia:
Dress: Handmedown? Thrift store? I just got it and can't remember. :P
Blazer: Candie's: Handmedown.
Skirt: Mix Nauveu brand: Handmedown
Belt: Handmedown
Hat: Pamida: $3
Shoes: Emma's, Payless: $12?

Lots to do, so little time! I have an Awkward and Awesome, winner of the giveaway (which has not been chosen yet-- my bad!), a hair-curling tutorial (YES, that!), and a cute headband to share with y'all Lord willing later this week! Have a great day! What was your sermon about?


30 comments :

  1. I love the word picture of an organ transplant. Thanks! Could you sometime do a post, or serious of posts, focused on tactful beautiful headcoverings? I get tired of the same old routine and would love some new ideas that don't look like the tradition conservative christian headcovering. And maybe creative hairstyles to go with them? Thanks!
    Sister in Christ

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree! I would love some more headcovering ideas too! :)

      Katherine

      Delete
  2. Love both your's and Emma's outfits, Olivia!
    It's awesome how they sort of match, but you both styled it completely different!
    LOL! On that comment about you never wearing the same thing, my grandparents said that too! Funny thing is, if you rotate a closet, like you said, properly, people think they've never seen it! When in fact, they just saw it two weeks ago, only it was paired with something else! ;)
    Fabulous and the picture of Biblical femininty as always, Olivia!
    Natasha
    A Modest Fashion Blog:
    www.natashaatkerson.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  3. Love the outfits! Especially the belts. So chic ;)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Whew, you ARE busy. I need to be as productive as you in my at-home hours, haha.

    The sermon I listened to today, as a new church to me, was about Jesus' parable about the shepherd and his single lost sheep and the women with her single lost coin, where Jesus maintains that a single wayward sinner brought home will be rejoiced over in heaven more than the 99 who were already together in community, as much as we rejoice more over finding a lost coin than in the other 9 that are all together where they go. The idea of which means more to GOd, the individual or the community, and the answer of neither, or rather both; they mean the same nad are both ultimately hugely important, but the 99 sheep can find protection and solace in one another AND the shepherd and be left while the shepherd searches for the lost sheep that has no community but only the shepherd who may find her.

    I found it a little bit of a punch in the gut relating to my search for a "home church", which has hit some stumbling blocks. But I really enjoyed visiting that church this week and am considering heading back next week. The people were incredibly friendly! THe only thing that I couldn't quite get over is such a tiny weird thing - their lyrics to "Praise God from whom all blessings flow" after the offering were different than those I was raised with and I found it hard to sing their version.

    An odd little petty thing, but I say if that's the only thing I found off-putting I am definitely making progress, haha.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would like to formally apologize for all the weird typos and typing mistakes in this comment. I typed in a hurry, can you tell? Ugh. Sorry.

      Delete
    2. Hey no worries! I've learned to ignore those in comments. :P :D Thanks for the comment!

      Delete
  5. You and your sister look sooo much alike! Your outfits are beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Wow I really cannot see how adding that skirt under the dress made it looks more flattering. It looks like a slip fell down under your skirt, just sayin! But maybe I'm behind the times...maybe you can give us a post on skirt lengths? I'm forever trying to find out what kind of lengths look good on me!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha! I was worried about that, but my dad who is really sensitive to that look (you might have noticed I don't wear tank tops with lace or anything like that), didn't say anything so I figured it was okay. Skirt lengths are hard. I've gotten this request a bit lately so I'll try to get to it! Time, time, time... Thanks for the comment!

      Delete
    2. Ew, tank tops with lace... They draw so much unwanted attention to themselves. :)

      Delete
    3. My dad is the same way! We love our daddys! :)

      Delete
    4. I don't see anything wrong with wearing tank tops with lace. They are feminine, and quite modest when high enough. They can add a special touch to an outfit.

      Delete
    5. Haha yes I know what you mean... my dad's not crazy over that either! Hope I didn't come across as rude - I really do like the dress :)

      Delete
    6. I think the skirt under the dress is really cute!
      ~Grace P.

      Delete
    7. I'm with you, Alison, I don't think tank tops with lace are instantly inappropriate. But I think Olivia and Sayna are talking about those tanks that have lace right below the collarbone where if you wear a cardigan over it it looks a bit like lingerie peeking out. I don't wear those either, but if you can get the neckline up high enough I've never had a problem with it.

      Delete
  7. lovely! I love your sisters totally different take on that blue maxi dress-so fun how you both came up with totally unique outfits from the same dress!

    -chels
    www.chelsyrenee.com
    (fashion, inspiration, photography, & life)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Amazing sermon over view Olivia! Our sermon was about trusting in God in the mist of our lonliness and discouragement. Very uplifting!
    Your outfits are great by the way! So fall/summery, great combo! Love the jackets/sweaters! I really like that white skirt that you have been wearing under things lately! So flattering!
    Have a blessed week!
    ~Cassie
    calicoclodhoppers.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  9. I love both of your outfits!

    -Hannah

    ReplyDelete
  10. LOVE these two outfits! Just wondering if Emma is a little shorter or taller, or the same height? People used to mistake my elder sister and I, as twins because we were the same height, and then she got taller for a few years and now we're about the same height. ;)
    Thrift stores seem to be your secret 'weapon' for wearing a different outfit every Sunday!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Sayna! Emma's about an inch taller than me. She had flats on here and I was wearing kitten heels. :D We're about 4 years apart so we've never really gotten "twins" but she and Willa got that all the time since they're only 2 years apart and had similar coloring. :)

      Delete
  11. Such pretty outfits! You and Emma look SO much alike... can definitely tell you are sisters.:)

    ReplyDelete
  12. I'm looking forward to your coming posts! Your outfits are so interesting! You two look SO alike!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Can't wait for the hair curling tutorial! I'm always looking for those. Thanks for doing this blog, it's been a BIG help in finding modest clothes.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Cute outfit! I love the blazer...I'm a debater and we wear suits/blazers quite often so it made me happy to see you wearing one. :P It gives your outfit a very nice, "formal" kind of look.

    ReplyDelete
  15. My name is Millie Rose. Thank you so much for sharif your outfit an your sermon with us Olivia, they were both extremely encouraging!
    The sermon at my church this week was also about the church as the body and bride of Christ and both our hope and responsibilities that stem from that. We also talked about how this should lead us to be God's hands and feet in this world by helping both our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ and unbelievers.
    We focused on these things because we are right in the middle of the disastrous flooding in Colorado. But we have hope, a 'Rock that is higher than I' that many do not. Please pray for the many who have been displaced from their homes and also that the church of Christ would be a testament to Him at this time (as it should at all times)
    Thanks again for greatly encouraging me today! It especially helps to look back at my sermon in the middle of the week. A wonderful reminder to stay focused.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Lovely outfits!
    I was about to ask if you could to a 'sister style' thing again.
    Wish granted!

    ~Mary

    ReplyDelete
  17. I use slip extenders from aSlipShop to create similar looks:
    www.aslipshop.com

    ReplyDelete
  18. I looooooove both outfits! So cute!

    ReplyDelete

Fresh Modesty is fashion blog which encourages girls to "Dress outside your box, but inside His Book!" I allow anonymous comments so those without accounts can comment, but I would really appreciate it if you would identify yourself by some form of a name. :) Thank you for taking the time to comment!