When Adam first saw Eve, he said … “Wow! Check you out, baby!  Nice work, God.  Hey, Eve …  want to go for a coffee … or something…”

And Eve said, “Yes! And then she turned aside and said, “That is the best looking guy I’ve ever seen! He is so hot!”

Then Adam said, “Hey Eve, Should we get dressed up tonight… our just go out …  au natural?”

And Eve said, “I don’t care what people think … wait … there are no other people. Hey, were alone …  hey baby… !”

Adam and Eve’s beautiful physicality, it was all God’s idea and Adam and Eve must have been thrilled with each other.

God made them for each other, and he made their puzzle pieces, fit together, and God called his work “good.”

What do we take from this? We do not need to be ashamed of our bodies, our skin, our muscles, our jiggly parts, our flab, what Paul calls our “weaker parts,” our vulnerabilities, our sexuality. We should never be ashamed of God’s body work.

The body is amazing.

Sneezes regularly exceed 100 miles per hour. Feet have 500 sweat glands.  You know that when you remove your socks. Your nose can remember 50,000 scents.  You use 200 muscles to take a step.

Everyday we produce 300 billion new cells.

Women are born with one to two million immature eggs.

We can make copies of ourselves! How fun is that?

We are miracles!

We have a little studied book, the Song of Songs, where we find the writer healthily enchanted with his lover’s physicality. Solomon writes in the Song:

The sweet, fragrant curves of your body,
the soft, spiced contours of your flesh
Invite me …

You’re beautiful from head to toe, my dear love,
beautiful beyond compare, absolutely flawless. 

(Message Version)

This is scripture. Holy scripture is comfortable with flesh, with bodies, with “spiced contours.”

There is an old stereotype of the religious person who is puritanical, Gnostic, self-rejecting, who hates the body, who is afraid to hug, to dance. But this is not what God wants.

Truly spiritual people are self-accepting, not self-shaming. They make friends with their flesh, with their gender, they are thrilled with their mates bodies, and they dance at their weddings, and they enjoy sex afterwards.

But, now let’s be honest, transparent, real —  not everyone, is comfortable with other bodies or their own. Some people actually hate their bodies.

How does that happen?

How have we gotten so far away from what God began with?

  1. The Barbie and GI Joe standard dominate us. Our sense of body image is bombarded on TV, movies, and internet media with  ideal bodies —  toned, muscular, skinny, tall and amazing bodies.

2. Past physical and sexual abuse —  too many shaming experiences have made some of us hate our bodies. This has sometimes come from the mean comments  or harmful abuses of others —  parents, peers, even ourselves.

3. Lastly life, surgeries, diseases, disabilities, weight gain, aging, such uncontrollables may have taken away our sense of a whole self, an acceptable self.

But our bodies, old or young, symmetrical, dysmorphic, attractive or unattractive are places where honoring, where kindness should occur. This is scriptural.

 Do you not know that your bodies [imperfect bodies] are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

Question: How can we then honor God with our bodies?  We can love them, feed them, rest them and accept them.

Last weekend I went to a Jamaican restaurant with about 20 other friends. Jerk chicken, tasty veggies, chocolate cake — yum!  Different ages, races, backgrounds – all accepted, all fed.  One person came and took a nap on a chair in the back, then came and sat in my lap and at the end of the meal had to be carried out the door. It was four-year old Loki. We honored, his little body.

We should so honor all bodies. We would do best to treat our body as if were four. We should hug it when it cries, feed it when it is hungry, carry it home when it has had too much to eat and drink.

How else can we honor God with our bodies? We can use our bodies to respect and nurture other bodies.

Jesus is a good model of this. “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.

It takes a pretty secure man to say I long like a “hen”  to gather my children.  But to hen chicks, to nurture children, is a good thing, a godly trait, a human trait and not a trait just reserved for women.

I like Jesus in this regard. Jesus handled his maleness well. He had close female friends and followers, but there is no evidence that he was ever anything but appropriate with them. None of them became girlfriends or wives.

As Christ-like people, we can nurture the opposite gender in really fun, uplifting and beautiful ways. We can make friends with each other, and we can respect each other’s bodies.

On Friday I heard laughing downstairs at the church. Later, I found out that the food distribution team was laughing about some pasta they had to give out. The brand name was “Allegra,” but someone thought it was, “Viagra.”  Wow! If word got out, that the  church gave away Allegra Viagra — that would bring some new converts.

“Hey, you should try this church. They give out this pasta, that helps with … you know. My husband has been eating it, and he is a changed man!”

Also on Friday, one of the distribution leaders was so excited about the church’s underwear!  She told me, “Wow, in our clothing room, we were given some new underwear to give out!”

Cool! That should go on the church website. “FB Church, a place with you can get great Bible studies, cool worship and new underwear.” A good church is okay with human. It gives away underware. It cares for real bodies!

Bodies, gender, good; male and female, made and loved by God and useful in honoring him and helping others, all good.

But, we know too, that bodies, can make bad choices.

Being sexual beings is beautiful, and can lead to fun, to children, to nurturing, but … our sexuality can also bring pain and harm to our lives.

San Diego was rocked recently by the charges against the mayor for sexual inappropriateness. Life carries within it a challenging handling of sexuality.

King David, the towering hero of the Old Testament, made some mistakes, sexually. King David committed adultery with Bathsheba, one of his soldier’s wives, and then to cover it up, when Bathsheba became pregnant, David had her husband murdered.

Our sexual desires, while good, made by God, can derail us. David suffered some grievous consequences and losses for his behavior, the loss of a child, the rebellion of his sons. In fact, David set a model of sexual inappropriateness that his sons followed, and that was tragic.

But it is not David’s mistakes, but his recovery that is worth noting. God, the creator of our sexuality, is also the redeemer of our sexuality! How gracious, even in the area of sexual mistakes, God is!

David fails, but God is full of understanding for David’s humanness, of his weaknesses.

After David fails, after David mucks things up, David rushed to God. God still loved David, and God forgave him, and even amazingly redeemed the situation.

Psalm 51:7 records David’s prayer, after his affair.

Soak me in your laundry and I’ll come out clean,
scrub me and I’ll have a snow-white life.
Tune me in to foot-tapping songs,
set these once-broken bones to dancing.

David trusts in and asks for a scrubbing, to be made clean, to be given the ability, after failure and loss and pain, to sing and dance again. How can he do that? He can do that because he knows a God who understands human imperfection and forgives.
Psalm 51:8-9 gives us more of David’s model prayer:

Don’t look too close for blemishes,
give me a clean bill of health.

God, make a fresh start in me,
shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life.

God can take our mess and clean it up. He can start us again. After we have suffered from our sexual mistakes, what we need to know and grab on to is a God who can and will forgive us. We do well, after failure, to rush to God and ask to be forgiven and renewed.

What is so amazing in the story of David, is that after David makes a horrible choice, and lots of evil comes from it, God brings some good out of the situation anyway! Bathsheba and David marry after the mess, and Bathsheba gives birth to four sons. One of the sons was Solomon, who became the next King after David.

This history, this real story, shows us that God is so redemptive when it comes to our bodies, even our sexual mistakes.

What to take from all this?

  1. Love your body! God does! Be at peace with yourself as Adam and Eve were with each other. Take care of your body, feed it healthy food, exercise it, work it, rest it and steward your gender. Buy it new underwear!

2. Use your body to love other bodies, and yet be aware of the power of sexuality. It’s good stuff, but strong stuff. Control your body. And follow Jesus in being appropriate with the opposite gender.

3. If you fail with your body, and we all do in some way — if you feed it too much, over work it, are immoral with it — then stop doing that, and rush to God to ask for forgiveness and help, just as David did.

And then God, who love bodies, who made your body, and the fragile person’s inside of it, will scrub you clean, and redeem your life.

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