We stand in our circle, our eyes looking out into the world through windows that bring the outside world into our space. It’s early afternoon on this wintry day. In our view tall spruce trees hold the snow fallen in their crisp branches and the picnic benches are absent of any park attendees resting on their benches. Above us we hear the recorded music, softer now than when we started the retreat hours before, of a church group who has rented out the upper level of this wilderness facility.
We stand with our backs to each other, in our circle, looking out to the world. I ask these twelve, a mixture of men and woman, single and married, to hold the hands of those next to them. Moments before we had been standing in this same circle, but facing in, looking at each other.
But now it was time to tell the world who we are. Tell the world who we are in Christ, and and what we had to offer.
To let our light shine.
nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:19-17
An exercise to break out of our comfort zone. Our comfort zone of being ourselves, sharing our stories, learning of God, and discovering our unique gifts and talents to those in our inner circle.
An exercise to break-out and share ourselves beyond our walls, and see the windows of opportunity to serve.
God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. 1 Peter 4:10
We began with soaking in scriptures of who Christ says we are.
Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet none will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs on your head are numbered. Matthew 10:29-31
Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. Psalm 139:16
In him we were chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, Ephesians 1:11
And then we moved on to soak in scriptures of Repentance, to clear our path.
Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23-24
Produce fruit in keeping in repentance. Matthew 3:8
And then we moved to soak in His Forgiveness, into His grace.
I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as bride adorns herself with jewels. Isaiah 61:10
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. Ephesians 1: 7-8
And then we soaked in scriptures on the gifts the Holy Spirit distributes to each of us, and in the stillness, tuning into God’s word.
For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads,[b] with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness. Romans 4:12-8
And with the words God had given us for our identity and for our spiritual gifting, we filled in the following:
God says I am (identity) and the gift given to me by the Spirit to light the world is (spiritual gift).
Holding the hands of each person next to me, the sunlight warm on my face I felt such joy as each attendee shout out there sentence, the words God had given them that very afternoon.
God is so good.
“God says I am faithful and the gift given to me by the Spirit is exhortation!”
An ‘amen’ was shouted by all, followed by giggles and light laughter.
But even though I was the last to say my statement, I did not allow us to let go of our hands, let go of our circle of unity.
“I think this moment calls for a Hallelujah. What do you think?”
And in unison, we all raised our hands and shouted out to the One who brought us all together.
And to the one who chose us, made us in His image, and who will always be our Father.
God is good.
Will you shout a Hallelujah out to him today?