3. Above/Below


Part 3 of the Spotlight series "Equality is Passing" 
Imagine you've just won an unlimited supply of one item for life, but you can't keep it for yourself. What item would you choose to win and to whom would you give it?
Once you've broken the ice, get into the idea of this Spotlight with the another question, this one about losing on purpose. 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:
We agree with the multitude in heaven -
you are worthy of praise and honor and glory and power,
forever and ever.
But we know why you are so worthy -
you are the lamb who was slain.
That is what praiseworthiness looks like in your kingdom.
Help us to trust this version of things
even when other voices suggest otherwise.

Welcome Perspective: Fixing imbalance, for God, looks like reversing it, not evening it.
When God seems most different from us, we can feel most uncomfortable with him.

Begin the worship portion of this Spotlight with this audio meditation, which is designed to comfort you with the good news that, even though God is different, he uses that different-ness for your benefit.

Let's see if we can make the uncomfortable comforting.
Respond with the Prayer of St. Francis
Pray these words aloud together.

Lord, make me a channel of your peace,
that where there is hatred, I may bring love;
that where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness;
that where there is discord, I may bring harmony;
that where there is error, I may bring truth;
that where there is doubt, I may bring faith;
that where there is despair, I may bring hope;
that where there are shadows, I may bring light;
that where there is sadness, I may bring joy.

Lord, grant that I may seek rather
to comfort than to be comforted;
to understand, than to be understood;
to love, than to be loved.

For it is by self-forgetting that one finds.
It is by forgiving that one is forgiven.
It is by dying that one awakens to eternal life.
Learn a New (Old) Song
There aren't a lot of hymns or songs about Christian humility - and when there are, they focus on being humble before an almighty God. That's a fine idea, to be sure, but that almighty God is the one who shows us that his kingdom is one of humility, not of splendor and glory.

This hymn, "Emptied of Self" by Haldor Lillenas, does well to try to put this humility idea into poetry. Lillenas had a very interesting life, born in Norway, immigrating as a boy to South Dakota and being raised as a midwestern Lutheran, and finally becoming a West coast Pentecostal pastor (mostly in Portland.) He wrote hundreds of hymns, few of which are famous, but many of which focus on humble acts of service.

What’s particularly interesting about the way he wrote this song is that it sings like a raucous, excited cheer of a song - even as it talks about being dead to the world. It’s a fun way of turning expectations upside down. Take a listen and sing along if you’d like!
Worship Perspective: The way up is down, as shown most graciously by our foot-washing King.
Learn Perspective: Our motivations, actions, and results are all transformed in God’s kingdom.

A Holy Week Offering for Justice

As Illume marches toward Holy Week 2024, we’re choosing a justice-oriented organization toward whom our offerings will be donated. Participate in the voting through the presentation below. 
Serve Perspective: Let the greatest one be the servant to all, as best as they're able. 

Prayer Requests

Pray Together
Let's pray about opportunities to serve, inspired by Jesus' example. Our goal is to identify practical ways we can serve others, embracing humility and love in our actions.

Silent Reflection (2 minutes)
Take a moment to quietly reflect on the following questions. Consider jotting down your thoughts if it helps you process:
  1. Identify an Act of Service: Think of a specific way you can serve someone this week. How can you incorporate the principle of "above/below" into this act of service?
  2. Personal Posture of Humility: Reflect on an area of your life where you can demonstrate humility or servitude. Is there a situation where you usually seek to lead or be recognized that you can approach with a servant's heart instead?

Pair Sharing (2 minutes)
Turn to the person next to you and share your reflection from the silent contemplation. Discuss:
  • The act of service you felt called to.
  • How you plan to approach a situation with humility this week.

Group Prayer (2 minutes):
Come back together as a group.Pray these words together. 

Heavenly Father, 
we thank you for the perfect example of humility Jesus gave us. 
As we follow in his footsteps, 
grant us the courage and humility to serve those around us with love and dedication. Help us to see opportunities for service in our daily lives 
and give us the strength to act on them. 
May our actions reflect your love and grace to the world. 

Consider making yourself a reminder so that, at the end of the week, you can take a moment to reflect on the experience of serving others. 
  • How did it impact your relationship with God and those around you? 
  • Consider sharing your experiences at our next meeting.
Farewell Perspective: Shift your paradigm, and sacrifice and service take on new glory.

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