Focus 2 (of 4)-Creation Sighs Together

Focus 2 (of 4) | All Creation Sighs

It’s helpful and heartbreaking to realize that when you sigh, you don’t sigh alone.
Consider this ice breaker as you gather for the Spotlight.
When did you start liking/hating mushrooms?
See what this Spotlight—and series—is focused on.
Tap on the words "Focus 2" in the image below to read this Spotlight's summary.
Watch this video about the Animals of Eden.
As you watch, try to pay attention to the unfairness.
Answer this question: Do you hear creation sigh?
The further something is from God, the worse off it ends up.

Romans 8:20–22 talks about the way “creation groans” because of the ways humanity has separated itself from God.

For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.
Romans 8:20–22

Come up with examples of ways creation is suffering, sighing, and groaning?
 + SUBMIT YOUR ANSWERS HERE (and they'll automatically be added to the image below).
Welcome Perspective
Pray through this interactive slide show.
Most people think the world is a beautiful place (and it is), but that hasn’t stopped it from suffering at the hands of humanity. Let’s be honest about what our shortcomings have wrought.
Watch this video about a new Earth.
There’s a solution to the sighs of creation. In fact, there are two.
The hope of a new creation is one that has sustained Christians for generations, and rightly so. The words of the song below were written hundreds of years ago, though the melody is quite new.

There are a few lines in the final verse that pray directly for this new creation. “Finish then thy new creation, pure and spotless let us be…changed from glory into glory…” Beautiful words of hope.

Pray with the song as you listen and worship.
Lyrics from Love Divine by The Rend Collective

Love Divine, all love excelling
Joy of heaven, to earth come down
Fix in us Thy humble dwelling
All Thy faithful mercies crown
Jesus, Thou art all compassion
Pure, unbounded love Thou art
Visit us with Thy salvation
Enter every trembling heart  

Breathe, oh, breathe Thy loving Spirit
Into every troubled breast
Let us all in Thee inherit
Let us find the promised rest
Take away the love of sinning
Alpha and Omega be
End of faith as its beginning
Set our hearts at liberty  

Come, Almighty, to deliver
Let us all Thy life receive
Suddenly return and never
Nevermore, Thy temples leave
May we be a blessing to Thee
Serve Thee as Thy hosts above
Pray and praise Thee without ceasing
Glory in Thy perfect love  

Finish, then, Thy new creation
Pure and spotless let us be
Let us see Thy great salvation
Perfectly restored in Thee
Changed from glory into glory
Till in heaven we take our place
Till we cast our crowns before Thee
Lost in wonder, love and praise
Worship Perspective

Follow this step-by-step process to diagram a curious passage from Romans.
We’re going to take a verse we looked at earlier in this Spotlight—and visualize it—so that we can see the full spectrum of hope to which God gives us access.

  1. First, place a blank piece of paper in portrait (tall/vertical) orientation. Draw a vertical line down the middle of it. At the top of the line write “glory.” At the bottom of the line write “decay.” These are words right from Romans 8:18–22, so make sure you have that in front of you also. 
  2. As you read through these verses, we’re going to place some things on this line. If you’re with a group, this would be a good time discuss where these points fall, and why you’d put them there.
  3. Draw a suffering stick figure on the line where “present sufferings” fall. 
  4. Who are the “children of God” that are going to “be revealed”?
  5. Put a glorified stick figure on the line at the place where you think that “revealing” happens. 
  6. Verse 19 says that creation “waits in eager expectation” for that moment of revelation. Draw an arrow from your suffering stick figure to your glorified stick figure.
  7. Looking at verses 20 and 21, do that same activity with an animal stick figure to represent creation. Plot their subjugation to frustration and their liberation from decay.
  8. How does this timeline of suffering shape your attitude to sufferings? 
  9. What parts of the imagery from verse 22 of “groaning as in the pains of childbirth” accurate in its refection of creations suffering? 

How did your diagram turn out? Want to see how we did it?

Get ready to discuss after reading this text.

Right after the first sin, God explained to Adam and Eve the ways that nature would suffer (and they would suffer as a result.) Here’s what God said:

“Cursed is the ground because of you;
      through painful toil you will eat food from it
      all the days of your life.

It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
      and you will eat the plants of the field.

By the sweat of your brow
      you will eat your food

until you return to the ground,
      since from it you were taken;

for dust you are
      and to dust you will return.”

Genesis 3:17–19

Now, think and talk through these questions with your group.

  • Need a hint? If you need a hint or a little push to get discussion started, use the “hint” button below the question.
  • Want to see the answer? To see if your discussion matched the thoughts we had in writing this, click the “answer” button (but not until after you discuss!)

1. God says the ground is cursed, and then lists the negative ramifications of that curse. What are they?
2. What does a curse mean to you? Does it add anything or help any if God is the one speaking the curse?
3. “For dust you are, and to dust you will return.” How are our bodies like the ground?

4. What would you say to a friend who tells you the “curse of the ground” isn’t fair?
Learn Perspective

Read this research paper about being a better steward of our environment.
To motivate you, here’s a question: Who should have a better understanding of and reason for conservation and environmentalism—a Christian or a non-Christian?

(Click here to read a short blog post about the Research Paper via the WWF website.)

A way for you to “serve” this week is to read through the actual Research Paper, itself, in its entirety. Here (below) is a link to a PDF of it.

Make sure to set aside some intentional time this week to make this happen. In fact, let’s take some time to do that right now. Take out your calendar app and book a time to read through this.

Analyze products you use for fair/conservative sourcing.
(Note: The goal of this activity is not to create shame, but to improve stewardship. It is good to be the best steward you know how to be; it is better to improve when you learn more. The truth is, a single person can do relatively little against certain environmental issues, but that's not the point: the point is to be good stewards on our own, out of love for what God has given.)

If you’re doing the Spotlight in groups, divide the sections below among your group. Have members look at the resources in each section for 3 minutes, and then report back to the rest of the group about each of the resources in their section.

Once you’re done, share with your group which category you find most interesting and strongly consider using one of the resources to analyze products you currently use. 


  • Safer Choice - Safer Choice helps consumers, businesses, and purchasers find products that perform and contain ingredients that are safer for human health and the environment.  The EPA named them the partner of the Year Award Winner .
  • The Non-GMO Shopping Guide - The Non-GMO Shopping Guide app is designed to help customers understand what is in their food and beauty products as well as to help them avoid GMOs. All brands and products are verified through the Non-GMO Project’s Product Verification Program. This is the only third party non-GMO verification program in North America. The list of non-GMO products in the app is searchable by brand or product name, keywords and product type so you can always find what you’re looking for. You can also find supported Non-GMO retailers nearby where you live.

  • Fooducate: This app lets you scan the barcode on any food item and it breaks down the nutritional information and ingredients. Their goal is to help you track both the quantity and quality of the calories you’re eating. Reviews show lots of satisfied users that learned to eat healthy and lost weight in the process!
  • Environmental Working Group - When you see the EWG VERIFIED™ mark on a product, you will know that the product meets EWG's strictest criteria for transparency and health.
  • Dirty Dozen - This is another free app that helps you determine which fruits and vegetables are safest to buy as organic, or are Ok to buy not being organic. The dirty dozen app shows in the app are the 12 most unsafe because they contain the most pesticide residue. When you know which veggies and fruit to buy organic, you can lower  your pesticide intake significantly by eating less contaminated produce. The dirty dozen app was created by the Environmental Working Group and is an easy way to help you find good produce when you’re grocery shopping.

  • Good On You ratings give you the power to make better choices when you shop. Choices that reflect your commitment to doing better by the planet, people and animals. Choices that create a sustainable future in fashion. Good On You believes fashion brands should be responsible for, and transparent about, their impact. How were the clothes you’re wearing made, and how do your favorite brands stack up on the issues that matter? The Good On You brand rating system considers the most important social and environmental issues facing the fashion industry to assess a brand’s impact on people, the planet and animals.
  • My Green Closet - This directory is designed as a starting point with different options if you’re looking for more responsible brands. Please still do your own research and make sure the products are right for you and the brands align with your personal needs, ethical/sustainable values. You can also check out my brand roundups for reviews and more about conscious brands in different categories like bras, swimwear, and bags/purses, or my deep dive into Canadian slow fashion brands.
  • Fair Trade Certification - A Fair Trade Certification constitutes a brand that pays fair wages to workers in developing countries. The certification also ensures that employees work in safe conditions. Buying fair-trade supports responsible companies, farmers, workers, and fishermen. Not to mention, it protects the environment. According to the Fair Trade website, a Fair Trade Certified seal means a product was made “according to rigorous, social, environmental, and economic standards.” It ensures that the methods used to create these products protect the environment, as well as the people who made them.
Feel free to submit a prayer request by filling out the below form.
(If you choose to make your request public, you'll see it display in the Current at the end of the Spotlight along with anyone else who did the same.)

Prayer Requests

Pray through your requests—together—as a group.
After submitting your requests in the above form, take some time to share with your group whatever requests the group might have for this week.
Serve Perspective

Watch this video—a guided prayer.
Listen to this song as we wind down this Spotlight.
Lyrics for In Labor All Creation Groans by Lamentations

In labor all creation groans till fear and hatred cease,
Till human hearts come to believe: In Christ alone is peace.

In labor all creation groans till prejudice shall cease,
Till every race and tribe and tongue in Christ will live in peace.

In labor all creation groans till rape and murder cease,
Till women walk by night unharmed and Christ is this world’s peace.

In labor all creation groans till false divisions cease,
Till enemies are reconciled in Christ who is our peace.
Sing along with (or listen to) this song to close out this Spotlight.
Feel free to sing along or simply listen. Do what makes you comfortable—but do whatever helps you focus on the song's meaning best.
Farewell Perspective

Let's wrap things up by taking a look at what's Current at Illume.

Tap on the buttons in the frame below to see what’s currently happening at Illume—information on everything from current and upcoming online content to live events and opportunities to serve in the community can all be found here.                          

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