Focus 5 (of 5)-Collectedness

Focus 5 | Collectedness

Confession can be the heartbeat of the individual and of the group.
Consider this ice breaker as you gather for the Spotlight.
Would you rather have a pet sloth or a pet parrot?
See what this Spotlight—and series—is focused on.
Tap on the words "Focus 5" in the image below to read this Spotlight's summary.
Can you spot the differences (again)?
You may remember this exercise from the second Focus of this series. Well, we're going to do it again.

Last time, you had two minutes to find as many differences between these two pictures as you could. This time, you only have one minute. (See if you can find all 10, again, but quicker.)


All of this to hammer home the idea that understanding where you fit, what makes you similar, and what makes you different from those you are grouped with is valuable.

And to remind you that though you are one-of-a-kind, you are still collectable. God intended you to be so, and your collectability can help you find rest, wisdom, and purpose as you understand it further.
Welcome Perspective
As long as there are sinful people to collect, there will be collective sin.
Feel the collective heartbeat.
“May your eyes be open to your servant’s plea and to the plea of your people Israel, and may you listen to them whenever they cry out to you. For you singled them out from all the nations of the world to be your own inheritance, just as you declared through your servant Moses when you, Sovereign Lord, brought our ancestors out of Egypt.”

1 Kings 8:52–53

Solomon prays at the dedication of the temple in Jerusalem.

These were Solomon’s words as he prayed before the people who had gathered to dedicate the temple. They are words of excitement and joy, but they are also words of humility. Take a look at the paragraph immediately preceding this:

“When they sin against you—for there is no one who does not sin—and you become angry with them and give them over to their enemies, who take them captive to their own lands, far away or near; and if they have a change of heart in the land where they are held captive, and repent and plead with you in the land of their captors and say, ‘We have sinned, we have done wrong, we have acted wickedly’; and if they turn back to you with all their heart and soul in the land of their enemies who took them captive, and pray to you toward the land you gave their ancestors, toward the city you have chosen and the temple I have built for your Name; then from heaven, your dwelling place, hear their prayer and their plea, and uphold their cause. And forgive your people, who have sinned against you; forgive all the offenses they have committed against you, and cause their captors to show them mercy; for they are your people and your inheritance, whom you brought out of Egypt, out of that iron-smelting furnace.

1 Kings 8:46–51

Notice how at the height of Israel’s power, when the kingdom was as great as it would ever be, Solomon leads the people in not only a collective prayer of confession but also a prayer that expects more confession.

Confession has been called “the heartbeat of the Christian” for its ability to recenter the soul on its dependence on God’s love and forgiveness in Jesus. This heartbeat is just as necessary for the individual Christian as it is for any group of Christians, because (to modify Solomon’s words a little) “there is no group that does not sin.”

(For evidence of this, take a look at the image below, which gives numerous Biblical examples of times when groups were critiqued and judged according to sin they had committed.)

Image source:

Feel that heartbeat as you meditate through this short confessional video that looks at this concept through the lens of the individual, the group, and the God who saves it all.
Respond with praise to the God who is faithful.
After Solomon prayed over the people (with great humility), he turned to them and blessed them with words of hope and praise.

(Read these words aloud together with the same hope and confidence that the people of God, standing before his temple and in his presence, could pray—if you’re doing this in a group, that is.) 

Rejoice in this forgiveness. Respond to it.

What’s your favorite part of the blessing you just read?

Now, celebrate this forgiving God with this song.

Worship Perspective
The confessing heart has found a beat that can put collective hearts in sync.
Let’s go for a walk—sort of like this…

One way to think about the “collections” or “groups” that you are in is to use the metaphor of a group of… hikers. (You thought we were going to say penguins, didn’t you?) In every group, there will be those who are out in front, those who are in the middle (usually the majority), and those who lag behind.

How can these groups, despite the variety that exists within them, find ways to “walk together”? What does it look like for these groups to deal with their sin and, in turn, go forward into the potential for difference-making that God has for them? 

Find some insight in these words from John:  

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.

1 John 1:5–10

Discuss these verses using the following questions:

  1. In the first paragraph, there are two contrasting ideas: “we walk in darkness” vs “we walk in the light.” What do you think (at least initially) that it means to “walk in darkness” vs “walk in light”?
  2. In the first paragraph, what does John say will be the result when we “walk in darkness”? If “walking in darkness” leads to lying and not living out the truth, does that match what you suggested for a definition of “walking in darkness” in question number 1?

    (The point here is that “walking in darkness/light” might not be about the way a person behaves as much as it is about what a person tries to hide…)

  3. Look at the three sentences in the second paragraph. They all have one central focus. What is it?
  4. Ephesians 5:13 says “But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light.” How is healthy, regular confession a good way to stay in that light? (On the other hand, how is avoiding/neglecting confession a way of staying in darkness?)
  5. How can confession help keep our collected groups in sync as we walk together?

Avoid the “perfect” group. 
Every collection of (guilty) people is going to talk about itself with idealized language, and usually, they do that because they aspire to a higher ideal. This is good.

At the same time (as you’ve hopefully seen in this series), it is good to be honest about the flaws in our groups as well. This, of course, isn’t easy and it certainly isn’t common.

Follow these steps to find some examples of this at play.
  1. Set a timer for three minutes to give this activity a time limit.
  2. Search the internet during that time for an example of a company that owns its errors—whether that means admitting a mistake, promising a better future, or something else.
  3. Share what you found during your three minutes with your group (if you’re doing this Spotlight with a group.)

Review this series.
Thank you for being a part of the On Letting Guilt Collect series. Hopefully, you and your group have learned through it and you see the way God’s incredible love meets our incredible (and multifaceted) guilt—perfectly.

The goal of this series has been to embrace the realities of collective guilt and sin so that you can experience what Paul was celebrating in the book of Romans:

The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Romans 5:20–21

May you be courageous in acknowledging collective sin along with individual sin because you are bolstered by the life-giving reality of a God who has grace to spare.

Read through the takeaways from this series:

(Which of these are you particularly glad to be taking with you?)

  1. When something’s precious, everything that touches it goes up in value.
  2. God crafts, applies, and restores you to make you a true collectible.
  3. You’re one-of-a-kind, not the only one. There’s no value in a vacuum.
  4. Knowing where you are is the first step to getting where you want to be.
  5. You are something else, and while God loves you for it, he loves the rest, too.
  6. “You” is both singular and plural and so are you.
  7. We share what we share, and God makes the most of it, the good and the bad.
  8. God gives you a place in a universe of parts all designed to love.
  9. Finding where you fit allows you to contribute as only you can.
  10. What is it to be collectible if you are never in a collection?
  11. You are who you are, but you are not simply you. You’re complicated.
  12. When collective sin brings personal guilt, God comes down with solutions.
  13. Finding collective guilt helps increase dependence on the grace of God.
  14. Finding where you’ve failed allows you to contribute as only you can.
  15. God is good enough to turn our collective guilt into true dependence.
  16. Our sin = past tense; our struggle = present tense; our hope = future tense.
  17. We are unified to each other + we are unified with God.
  18. Collective guilt = collective forgivness.
  19. Collective guilt = collective accountability
  20. We’re singular + we’re plural.
  21. As long as there are sinful people to collect, there will be collective sin.
  22. The confessing heart has found a beat that can put collective hearts in sync.
  23. Walking together and walking in the light means being visible.
  24. This humility perfectly positions us for acts of service.
  25. God’s increasing grace leads you and me to embrace letting guilt collect.

(If you were going to tell a friend why this series was worth it to you, what would you tell them?)
Learn Perspective
Walking together and walking in the light mean being visible.
Encourage the Chief Seattle Club.
A place for urban Native peoples to connect and find stability.

The Chief Seattle Club is going through a unique transition. (Read more about what’s going on here.) Since you’ve been learning about their efforts in this series, especially their significant new efforts surrounding the affordable housing they are building in Pioneer Square, you have a task…

Send them an encouraging message—right now.

Using the comment section of their website, write a short message to encourage their new director and to thank them for their efforts.


Remember, you can follow the Chief Seattle Club on social media using the buttons below:

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
This humility perfectly positions us for acts of service.
Close with peace by listening to this song about the good will of God.
God is the one who can “work all things for good”—even our collective failures. Allow this song to give you a deeper appreciation for God’s ability to mold us to his good will.
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
God’s increasing grace leads you and me to embrace letting guilt collect.
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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