GOD'S GREATEST SHOW
But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me has not been in vain (1 Corinthians 15:10).
When  The Greatest Showman  was first released in theaters, critics were far from impressed. They disparaged it for its family-friendly, happy-ending, Hollywoodized distortion of reality. After all, history records P.T. Barnum as a morally questionable opportunist. He made his money exploiting human curiosities and duping the public out of their money with hoaxes. He spent much of his life in financial ruin, had a mediocre personal life, and was definitely not as good looking as Hugh Jackman.

Despite its apparent flaws and finagling of history, however, you have to admit  The Greatest Showman  is fabulously entertaining and has an uplifting message of inclusion that makes you want to chase your dreams. It takes a dubious plot line and turns it into a great show. I have to think it is exactly the show P.T. Barnum would have envisioned for himself. Who wouldn’t want to have their life story transformed into a glamorized, over-the-top, Hollywood-style musical? 

Like P.T. Barnum, Saul of Tarsus was a morally questionable man. He was a persecutor Christians, until one day on the road to Damascus he was knocked down by a magnificent, over-the-top, blinding light and saw a vision of Jesus. From that moment on, he became Paul, an apostle, and a convertor of many to the inclusivity and salvation of Jesus Christ. Defying the odds and the derision of many critics, Paul would become known as St. Paul and is honored to this day as a founder and defender of the Christian faith. I have to think Paul became exactly who God called him to be. Who wouldn’t want to have their life transformed into an inspiring, enduring witness of God’s redemptive love?

If only we could all watch God’s version of our lives. You see, in God’s eyes we come alive, because God knows all truth and accepts us with all our faults and failures. God sees the extraordinary in the ordinary. God sees the hero hiding inside the hoodwink. God sees the hideaways as the stars of the night. God sees all the beauty and possibility and splendor we can be, because that is exactly who God meant us to be. We were God’s vision of the world from the beginning. The world Jesus died for so we could know forgiveness and a million second chances to become the best version of ourselves and the best version of humanity—a million dreams for the world we’re called to make. To God we are brave, we are bruised, we are glorious. To God we are always good enough. To God we are the greatest show.

For our reflection this week, take a few minutes and ask God to show you what God sees when God looks at you. Do you see what God sees in yourself? What do you see instead? What is holding you back from seeing yourself as just who God meant you to be? 

Written by Andrea Laux, Director of Adult Discipleship
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Active Bystander Training
Have you ever been in a conversation when someone said something biased that made you uncomfortable, but you were not sure how to respond? The OSU Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity   is offering  Active Bystander Training  via Zoom on Friday, July 24th and July 31st from 10:00am-12:00pm. Registration is required. Link here for more information.
Friday Night at the Movies
This week we will be watching the Disney classic The Lion King. Please bring your own lawn chairs and snacks. Important note: The church restrooms will be closed except for emergencies.

The movie starts at 8:30pm!