“Can you hear it? The sound of the genuine within you.”
– Joe Davis, “Show Up”

Why did God create us? Christianity gives a profoundly simple answer: God created us to enjoy God’s love and to share that love with others. Martin Luther wrote that “the heart overflows with gladness, and leaps and dances for the joy it has found in God.” So you might say that we are wired to find joy in God – not mere pleasure or fleeting happiness, but true and abiding joy. And because we are wired to enjoy God, it is only by basking in the joy of God’s love that we begin to hear “the sound of the genuine” within us.

Read Psalm 16 (focusing on vv. 5-11).

  • What about this Psalm appeals to you?
  • What difference does it make for you to think of yourself as wired to enjoy God?
  • Identify aspects of the poem “Show Up” that you might connect with joy. Why do these aspects of the poem appeal to you?

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When we talk about God’s love, we’re not talking about a static idea. We’re talking about God’s own transforming presence in our lives. For that reason, God’s love may manifest itself in different ways, depending on how exactly we need God’s healing. The Christian writer Frederick Buechner put it this way: “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”

  • In what ways is the world hungry? In what ways is the world broken and in need of God’s healing?
  • Where in the poem “Show Up” do you find traces of the world’s hunger and healing?

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The Bible says a lot about God’s mission of healing love. A very brief sampling of biblical passages is provided below. For each biblical passage, ask yourself: How is the world’s brokenness being described (or implied), and what does God’s healing love look like? Where do I see this brokenness in the world around me, and what would its healing look like today?

  • Jeremiah 22:3; Zechariah 7:9-10. God speaks about social justice through these Old Testament prophets.
  • Luke 4:16-19. Jesus defines his mission in the liberating language of the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 61:1-2).
  • Matthew 5:38-48. Jesus teaches against violence in the Sermon on the Mount.
  • How do these passages challenge you? How do they excite you?
  • In your view, how can the church be an instrument for God’s healing love in the world?

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The church is not only an instrument for God’s healing love in the world. It is also a community dedicated to practicing God’s healing love among its members. In the church, Christian “brothers and sisters” give and receive God’s love, growing closer to each other while simultaneously growing closer to God. In this way, God creates a community that models God’s own vision for the world as a whole. That is why Jesus says to his disciples: “You are the light of the world”!

Read some or all of the following passages:
Romans 15:5-7; 1 Corinthians 12:12-26; 1 Corinthians 13:1-7; Galatians 3:26-29; Philippians 2:3-4; Ephesians 4:2-5; Colossians 3:12-15.

  • What do these passages teach you about the nature of Christian community? What words stand out to you, and why?
  • Where in the poem “Show Up” do you find elements of authentic Christian community?
  • What excites you about participating in authentic Christian community? About helping to foster authentic Christian community? What are the challenges to fostering Christian community?

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God created us all to further God’s one mission of healing love. And yet we are all so different! So why did God create you? In other words, how is God equipping you to participate in the one mission of love? Or we can put the question this way: How has God gifted you for participation in God’s mission of love?

Read some or all of the following passages:
Matthew 5:14-16; Romans 12:3-8; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11; Ephesians 2:10; 1 Peter 4:10-11

  • What do these passages teach you about gifts and talents? What language do they use to describe the origin and purpose of gifts and talents? What does this language mean to you?
  • What kinds of gifts and talents can you find in the poem “Show Up?” In what parts of the poem do you see yourself?
  • Can you think of other kinds of gifts and talents with which you might share God’s love, both in the world and within church community?
  • Sometimes we can’t see our own gifts. And sometimes we develop gifts that we didn’t previously have. With whom can you discuss your gifts and how they might be leading you into public ministry? Do you know any ministers who might be willing to share their own journeys with you? Commit to having these conversations, and to listening prayerfully for God’s call on your life.
  • Can you hear it? The sound of the genuine within you!