People react to being called beautiful

January 11, 2016

In yesterday's Illuminate study, the Friendly Perspective from Kay Wilson includes this line: "How do I love thee? Let me count the ways." It's from Elizabeth Barrett Browning's Sonnet 43, and even though the declaration of love was most likely meant for Browning's husband, it's a line - Kay reminds us - that should apply to the ways in which we remember and "celebrate a depth of love for God that delights." This morning, I'm reminded of a surprise dusting of snow last week, of icicles hanging from a bird feeder, of a long drive through the Columbia River Gorge on my way to be with friends in Idaho. How have you been experiencing delight in God's love?

What We're Watching - There's a simple youtube video - People react to being called beautiful - a mini-documentary in which a high school student simply records her fellow students while telling them that they're beautiful. The way these students react is powerful evidence that the Gospel message - God's good news - isn't old-fashioned or out of touch (although our efforts to share the Gospel certainly may be). If anything, people need to know - more than ever - that they matter, that there's room for them at the table, that God made them good and beautiful.

What We're Doing - Over the last six years, our Illuminate study series has guided hundreds of small groups through the entire Bible, a process that will come to an end in summer 2017. We think the Bible's important enough to travel through a second time (or more), so we'll be revisiting that series and bringing out a second, six-year installment in fall 2018. But in the interim year, we'll be trying something a little different with Illuminate, introducing a different teaching or saying of Jesus each week, paired with an Old Testament text that Jesus is referencing or building on, as well as a New Testament text that hints at how early believers understood and tried to live out Jesus' commands. I hope you'll join us!

Eric Muhr