1. Fair Value

Fair Value

Part 1 of the Spotlight series "Equality is Passing" 
What's the earliest moment that you can really remember when you were aware of (and bothered by) something that was unfair?
Once you've broken the ice, get into the idea of this Spotlight with the another question, this one about deserving things. Use the clip below for this.
(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 have given us value,
you have taught us what justice looks like,
and you encourage us to be fair.
But you also give when you could receive,
submit when you could reign supreme,
and take punishment that you do not deserve.
Teach us to see equality and fairness as you do.

Welcome Perspective: Equality is a real thing, but it isn't the main thing to God.
Leader: Equality is a big word, one that should be taken seriously.
People: It's a concept that is often spoken about from a place of pain.
Leader: God feels the pain and struggle of those deprived of equal measure.
People: He encourages fairness and justice for the sake of the hearts of those he loves.

Leviticus 19:35-36
Leader: "Do not use dishonest standards when measuring length, weight, or quantity."
People: "Use honest scales, honest weights, an honest ephah, and an honest hin."

Proverbs 11:1
Leader: For the Lord detests dishonest scales,
People: But accurate weights find favor with him. 

Deuteronomy 25:13-15
Leader: "Do not have two differing weights in your bag—one heavy, one light."
People: "You must have accurate and honest weights and measures, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you."

Proverbs 20:10
Leader: The pursuit of equality demands integrity and honesty,
People: For differing weights and differing measures—the Lord detests them both.

Proverbs 16:11; Romans 14:19
Leader: "Honest scales and balances belong to the Lord; all the weights in the bag are of his making."
People: Let us then pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.

Micah 6:8
Leader: As we seek equality, let us remember the wisdom of the Lord,
People: To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with our God. 

Leader: For in His eyes, we are called to uphold justice and righteousness, not by the standards of the world, but by the  measure of his word.

Galatians 6:9-10
People: Let us not grow weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. 

Respond to this responsive reading by singing the song "Blest Be the Tie that Binds."
Read this blessing, often used at Christmastime, to one another. 
Have a different volunteer read each paragraph (there are 6.)

May God bless you with discomfort
at easy answers, at hard hearts,
at half-truths, and at superficial relationships.
May God bless you so that you may live
from deep within your heart
where God's Spirit dwells.

May God bless you with frustration
at injustice, at oppression,
and at exploitation of people.
May God bless you so that you may
work for justice, freedom, and peace.

May God bless you with tears
to shed for those who suffer from pain,
rejection, starvation and war.
May God bless you so that you
may reach out your hand
to comfort them and turn their pain into joy.

May God bless you with enough foolishness
to believe that you can make a difference
in this world, in your neighborhood,
so that you will courageously try
what you don't think you can do, but,
in Jesus Christ you'll have all the strength necessary.

May God bless you to fearlessly
speak out about injustice,
unjust laws, corrupt politicians,
unjust and cruel treatment of prisoners,
and senseless wars,
genocides, starvations, and poverty that is so pervasive.

May God bless you that you remember
we are all called
to continue God's redemptive work
of love and healing
in God's place, in and through God's name,
in God's Spirit, continually creating
and breathing new life and grace
into everything and everyone we touch.
Worship Perspective: We do not need to fear injustice, nor do we need to ignore it.
In the Old Testament, God repeatedly encouraged his people to be fair.

  • Leviticus 19:35-36 | Do not use dishonest standards when measuring length, weight or quantity. Use honest scales, honest weights, an honest ephah, and an honest hin. I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt.
  • Deuteronomy 25:13-16 | Do not have two differing weights in your bag—one heavy, one light. Do not have two differing measures in your house—one large, one small. You must have accurate and honest weights and measures, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you. For all who do such things, all who act dishonestly, are detestable to the LORD your God.
  • Proverbs 11:1 | The LORD detests dishonest scales, but accurate weights find favor with him.
  • Proverbs 16:11 | Honest scales and balances belong to the LORD; all the weights in the bag are of his making.
  • Proverbs 20:10 | Differing weights and differing measures—the LORD detests them both.
  • Proverbs 20:23 | The LORD detests differing weights, and dishonest scales do not please him.
  • Ezekiel 45:10 | You are to use accurate scales, an accurate ephah and an accurate bath.
  • Micah 6:11 | Shall I acquit someone with dishonest scales, with a bag of false weights?
  • Amos 8:5 | Saying, 'When will the New Moon be over that we may sell grain, and the Sabbath be ended that we may market wheat?'—skimping on the measure, boosting the price and cheating with dishonest scales...

Put into words the line that connects fairness and justice.
Then, watch this video about justice from a Biblical perspective.
How does Jesus's experience in our redemption go against the ideas of fairness and justice?
How does Jesus's experience in our redemption corroborate the idea of fairness and justice?
Learn Perspective: Justice and fairness matter, but they aren't fully wrapped up in equality.

A Holy Week Offering for Justice

Your goal today is to begin to compile a good list of Christian, justice-seeking organizations that align with our values and mission at Illume. The offerings that Illume collects during Holy Week will go to one of these, and over the course of the series we will select the one we'd like to support. We are looking for organizations that not only speak to our Christian commitment to justice but also demonstrate effective and impactful work in their respective fields.

Divide into smaller groups, each choosing a specific focus area for the organizations you'll find. Examples of potential focus areas: 
  • hunger relief
  • anti-slavery
  • clean water initiatives
  • education initiatives

Once you have a group and your group has a focus area, start the timer below and get to working on these two steps:
  1. Find Organizations: Use smartphones, tablets, or laptops to research Christian organizations that work within your team's focus area.
  2. Evaluate Organizations: Briefly evaluate the organizations based on the following criteria:
    • Alignment with Christian values and teachings.
    • Focus on justice and making a tangible impact.
    • Transparency and effectiveness (look for impact reports or testimonials if available).
Once the time is up, reconvene as a whole group.

Each team should present their findings, briefly sharing about the organizations they believe are most compelling and why. Submit those that are named by email to info@illume.church.
Serve Perspective: Pursuing justice is good when it can be put into perspective.

Prayer Requests

Prayer Activity
Spend a few moments in prayer, specifically reflecting on God's heart for justice and equality. The world is filled with injustice, and as followers of Christ, we are called to respond with empathy, wisdom, and action.

Start with about 30 seconds of silent reflection.

Introductory Prayer
Leader: Heavenly Father, we come before you today, united in our desire to understand your heart for justice and equality. We recognize the pain and suffering caused by injustice in our world, and we ask for your wisdom to navigate these complex issues.

Prayers for Wisdom
Leader: Lord, grant us wisdom that goes beyond our understanding, that we may see people and situations through your eyes. Help us to discern your will in how we speak, act, and respond to the injustices around us.

[Pause. Any group members that would like to share requests about wisdom are welcomed to do so.]

Leader: Father, we also ask for empathy—the kind that Jesus showed to those who were marginalized and suffering. Open our hearts to feel the pain of others, to understand their struggles, and to respond with your love.

[Pause. Any group members that would like to share requests about empathy are welcomed to do so.]

Leader: And now, God, we pray for the courage to act. Show us how to advocate for justice, to stand up for what is right, and to serve those in need in practical and impactful ways. Help us to be your hands and feet in a world that desperately needs your love and mercy.

[Pause. Any group members that would like to share requests about taking action are welcomed to do so.]

Closing Prayer
Leader: We thank you, God, for hearing our prayers. We trust in your unfailing love and justice. Guide us this day and always to walk in your ways. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
Farewell Perspective: God values people more than he values equality.

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