4. Winning is Simply Not One

Winning is Simply Not One

Part 4 of the Spotlight series "Power is Passing" 
If you have one and are willing, share a story of a time you "held back" in order to let someone (perhaps a child or friend) win. Bonus points if they didn't (and still don't) know.

Once you've broken the ice, see what this Spotlight is focused on by clicking the "focus" below.
Let’s talk about winning.
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:
Help us to see the world as you do -
with such a perspective that we, too,
would walk the extra mile.
Take away our faith in winning, in dominance, and in power,
and turn our hearts toward you.

Welcome Perspective: Power is passing - and being replaced by a very different thing.
Worship is worth it when our hearts are comforted. In the stories God highlights in the Bible, he regularly seeks to comfort the powerless - not by offering them power, but by showing them that if victory exists, it comes not by power, but in something much more like submission.

Meditate on two stories and a poem about the ways Jesus' very existence shows this to be the case.
Close this worship section by listening to the song "Citizens" by Jon Guerra. This is the song from which this Spotlight gets its name.
Worship Perspective: Submission led to greater victory than dominance ever could - and it is victory for all.

A New Attitude

Learn Perspective: Law is based in the power dynamic - Gospel is not. 
In Abby's painting of her husband, Kostya, she shows a smoke that represents his prayers rising for his family halfway across the world - people he loves but is powerless to help.

Geopolitical conflict is complicated for Christians, especially because our ethos is simply not of this world. It is different - so different, in fact, that it can be hard to know what language a Christian can use in power struggles such as these.

Here are several sample tweets. Which words, phrases, or even hashtags do you feel capture the heart of Jesus in Matthew 5 in a situation like Kostya's? What's working, and what isn't, and what would be better?

(These were all generated by AI, so you don't need to feel like you're going to hurt feelings by critiquing them!)

  1. "Even in the shadow of conflict, let's hold onto Jesus' message in Matthew 5. Responding to aggression with love can light a path to peace. #LoveNotWar #ForgiveToHeal"
  2. "In difficult times, remember: strength is shown not in retaliation, but in the courage to seek peace. Let's be peacemakers in a world in need. #BeTheChange #PeacefulHearts"
  3. "Conflict tests our spirit, but let's embrace Jesus' teachings: meet force with forgiveness, hate with love, and division with unity. #UnityInAdversity #LoveWins"
  4. "In these trying times, let's remember the power of radical love. May we meet hostility with compassion, not vengeance. #PeaceForAll #Matthew5Love"
  5. "Amidst conflict, let's not lose sight of our shared humanity. May our responses be guided by kindness and understanding, not retaliation. #ChooseCompassion #PathToPeace"
  6. "As we face these challenging times, let's turn the other cheek by extending a hand of friendship, not fists of anger. Together, we can heal. #LoveOverConflict #HealingTogether"
Serve Perspective: Those without power learn to quit pretending that power is enough.
Pray for One Another
Have a volunteer read this prayer, written by Soren Kierkegaard about willing the one thing: love. 

Father in Heaven!
Person 1 
What are we without You! What is all that we know, vast accumulation though it be, but a chipped fragment if we do not know You! What is all our striving, could it ever encompass a world, but half-finished work if we do not know You: You the One, who is one thing and who is all!
Person 2
So may You give to the intellect, wisdom to comprehend that one thing; to the heart, sincerity to receive this understanding; to the will, purity that wills only one thing. In prosperity may You grant perseverance to will one thing; amid distractions, collectedness to will one thing; in suffering, patience to will one thing.
Person 3 
You that gives both the beginning and the completion, may You early, at the dawn of day, give to the young the resolution to will one thing. As the day wanes, may You give to the old a renewed remembrance of their first resolution, that the first may be like the last, the last like the first, in possession of a life that has willed only one thing.
Person 4
Alas, but this has indeed not come to pass. Something has come in between. The separation of sin lies between. Each day, and day after day something is being placed in between: delay, blockage, interruption, delusion, corruption. So in this time of repentance may You give the courage once again to will one thing. True, it is an interruption of our ordinary tasks; we do lay down our work as though it were a day of rest when the penitent is alone before You in self-accusation.
Person 5 
This is indeed an interruption. But it is an interruption that searches back into its very beginnings that it might bind up anew that which sin has separated, that in its grief it might atone for lost time, that in its anxiety it might bring to completion that which lies before it.
Person 6
You that gives both the beginning and the completion, give your victory in the day of need so that what neither our burning wish nor our determined resolution may attain to, may be granted unto us in the sorrowing of repentance: to will only one thing.
Person 7
Lord! Make our heart Your temple in which You live. Grant that every impure thought, every earthly desire might be like the idol Dagon-each morning broken at the feet of the Ark of the Covenant. Teach us to master flesh and blood and let this mastery of ourselves be our bloody sacrifice in order that we might be able to say with the Apostle: “I die every day.”
Farewell Perspective: Only in Christ can we be confident enough to be submissive.
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