3. Mutuality


Part 3 of the Spotlight series "Power is Passing" 
Outside of a political setting, have you ever had a democratic process go differently than you'd hoped but been happy the process existed as it did? 

Once you've broken the ice, see what this Spotlight is focused on by clicking the "focus" below.
Let’s talk about the opposite of power.
Listen to this audio clip when you’re ready to begin today’s Spotlight.
(And welcome, by the way! It’s great that you’re here!)
Hopefully that makes enough sense to get you started.

Pray this prayer to get into it:
You are with us because you want to be -
not because you have to be.
May we be with you for the same reason -
because we want to be.
Thank you for being a sharing God
when you certainly have the power to be dominating.

Welcome Perspective: Power exists, but it's not for hoarding. It is distributed mutually. 
To worship is to find a safe place in the love of God. It's what the Psalmists who wrote Psalm 84 had in mind. Read the psalm silently to yourself now, and be prepared to share with the person sitting next to you what line is most interesting to you today.

How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD Almighty!
My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD;
my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.
Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may have her young--a place near your altar,
O LORD Almighty, my King and my God.
Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you.
Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.
As they pass through the Valley of Baca, they make it a place of springs;
the autumn rains also cover it with pools.
They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion.
Hear my prayer, O LORD God Almighty; listen to me, O God of Jacob.
Look upon our shield, [3] O God; look with favor on your anointed one.
Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere;
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor;
no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.
O LORD Almighty, blessed is the man who trusts in you.

As was mentioned, once you've read and considered the psalm, share the line you felt was most interesting with the person/people sitting next to you. If you're doing this via Zoom, direct chat it to the person whose first name follows yours alphabetically. 

Once you've shared, have a listen to this worship song. It became popular around 2013. It's a song that celebrates God's power and the idea that he shares it with us. As you listen, consider this question: How can this song serve us well as we think of power in terms of mutuality - and how might it be misleading if we're thinking of power in terms of dominance? 
It is common (when Christians talk about God and power) to find sentiments like the one in this image:
But the Bible speaks differently. Read these words together:

ISAIAH 2:1-5
This is what Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem:
2 In the last days
the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established
    as the highest of the mountains;
it will be exalted above the hills,
    and all nations will stream to it.
3 Many peoples will come and say,
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
    to the temple of the God of Jacob.
He will teach us his ways,
    so that we may walk in his paths.”
The law will go out from Zion,
    the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
4 He will judge between the nations
    and will settle disputes for many peoples.
They will beat their swords into plowshares
    and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not take up sword against nation,
    nor will they train for war anymore.
5 Come, descendants of Jacob,
    let us walk in the light of the Lord.
Worship Perspective: You have a God who is interested in unity, not dominance, and invites you into that desire.

Godly Mutuality

Learn Perspective: Seek to see, value, and use power as God has, and to depend on the way he does it so well.
Take a look at the way Abby describes her pieces, and discuss with one another. Particularly, note that Abby connects each painting to a verse from scripture. Which do you find most effective, and why?
Oil on Canvas
This work presents a mother reaching out to children in Ukraine. Alla worked for an organization that arranged ballet competitions for children. When the war broke out, this company quickly took action, providing places for these children and their families to go so that they could continue to nourish their gifts and pursue their dreams in the field of dance. This painting depicts the moment in between reaching out to help another while also reaching out in hope of reunion with family.

John 15:12
"My command is this; love each other as I have loved you."
Oil on Canvas
This work presents the fleeting pause of a dancer, capturing the calm moment between the movements of a dance. The dancer’s intimate moment with her work is interrupted by the chaos of her surroundings. While dancing to crowd out the noise of her country burning and the flight of her family, how does Yeva find hope?

Psalm 139:3
“Let them praise his name with dancing
    and make music for him with timbrel and harp.”
Oil paint on canvas
This work embodies the message from Ecclesiastes. “ Meaningless meaningless everything is meaningless.” The word meaningless in this text comes from the Hebrew word, Hevel, when translated literally means breath of vapor. The smoke surrounds Kostia, the subject, while he prays for the strength to persevere. You cannot grasp smoke, the situation in Ukraine was similarly our of his reach. What can Kostia rely on and what hope does he have, when his country is war-torn and his family is fleeing from death? Prayer.
Oil and Acrylic on Canvas
This work displays a father driving away from the city of Kiev to avoid Russian tanks. He is placed back-to-back with his son who prays that he and his family may all remain safe and endure this difficult time. This piece stresses the love and protection that Petro provided for those that needed it. In this fleeting moment he makes a decision and flees from the disaster, driving away from the city with a vehicle full of refugees and friends.

Isaiah 40:31
"but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not faint."
Oil and acrylic on canvas
This painting portrays Oscar, the family dog, with the Ukrainian flower emerging from the background. Oscar experienced just as much trauma, and was an important asset in the family's reunion. Every family member would eventually make it to safety, including their dog, even though it took more paperwork to get Oscar through customs and to America than his human owners. He was worth every signature and penny.

Deuteronomy 31:6
"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you."
Alla and Twin
Oil and Acrylic on Canvas

These two twins share a unique story. When the war broke out, Alla’s aunt fled with her to Munich, traveling together to reach Yeva. Yet when faced with the choice to either leave for the United States or stay, she couldn’t muster the strength to leave her twin sister in Ukraine. She traveled back to Ukraine to be with her sister, because her safe place could only be one place - with her sister. This is a beautiful story of sisterly love, and they now live in a bunker underground, sheltered from the war.

Psalm 46:10
"Be still, and know that I am God."
Serve Perspective: Where power decides to dominate, mutuality often rises beautifully.
Pray for One Another
Have a volunteer read this prayer. 

Holy and triune God,
you alone live in perfect relationship:
One God in three persons, mutual and loving,
ever seeking reconciliation and unity.
You have called us to live in your completion,
yet we confess that our relationships are imperfect and
we are incomplete without you.
We are selfish and greedy.
We are anxious and resenting.
We feel the shame of our foolish behavior and brokenness.
We have allowed sin to drive us apart from one another and from you.
Forgive us and restore us,
draw us close and bind us together in your mercy.
May we long for wholeness and peace,
may we strive toward gratitude and grace
in the saving name of your son, Jesus Christ,
by the sharing power of your Holy Spirit.
Farewell Perspective: We work together not to gain power, but simply because that is what power is for.
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