Our small group, called “Re:Group” has begun watching the Nooma video series in our Sunday evening gatherings. I plan to post here each week with a description of each video, from Nooma’s website, plus a review of the video, and an overview of the discussion that followed our viewing. I hope you enjoy it.
Things don’t always work out the way we want them to, or the way we think they will. Sometimes we don’t even see it coming. We get hit with some form of pain out of nowhere leaving us feeling desperate and helpless. That’s the way life is. Still, it makes us wonder how God can let these things happen to us. How God can just stand by and watch us suffer? Where is God when it really hurts? Maybe God is actually closer to us than we think. Maybe it’s when we’re in these situations, where everything seems to be falling apart, that God gets an opportunity to remind us of how much he really loves us.
Intended Audience: Anyone and everyone, but particularly helpful for those struggling with doubts about God’s goodness.
Review: As you can see, this is the first Nooma video, and it gets the series off to an excellent start. It is emotional and touching without being cheesy or cloying. The music and videography are fantastic. But it is still clear that they have yet to hit their stride. Rob Bell, while poignant and passionate, is still fairly uncomfortable in his delivery. He stumbles a bit in his memorization, and uses a few words in distracting ways, such as a constant use of, “It’s intrstng…” spoken really fast. And he uses the unmodified word “scriptures” instead of “Bible” for some reason, as if there were no other scriptures besides the Bible. His mannerisms also suggest that he is still getting used to talking to the camera. From a presentation point, we can see that Nooma started off pretty literal with their segment titles and imagery. It’s called “Rain” because the video is mostly about rain, and there’s a picture of an umbrella on the cover. In subsequent segments, the titles and imagery are much more intriguing and implied, which I like. But all these things are very minor. “Rain” is truly a wonderful experience.
Re:Group Discussion: We had a very intimate dialogue following this video. We gave some testimony, and talked about how God is interested far more in our character than our happiness, and how it is trial and suffering that brings about character in our lives. On the other hand, it is often when we have hit rock bottom that God uses an unexpected blessing to turn us around, because “it is his kindness that leads us to repentance.” We discussed the redemptive nature of suffering, as we commit to live our lives for others, and not for ourselves. Thus we can become co-laborers with our brothers and sisters as they suffer, because we have been there. And we can encourage others to look for the redemptive purpose of their own suffering, although we should recognize the difference between a time to counsel, and a time to comfort.
We read Psalm 124 to understand God’s desire to rescue us from trouble, and Job 1:20-21 to understand how to worship God even when he did not rescue us. We also considered the declaration of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who said, and I paraphrase, “Even if our God does not save us, we will still not bow down to a man.”
We recognized that, as we go through trials, it is so important to understand that God treasures the moments that he can love us through them, and that, if we are mature in our faith, we can look back at them later, and treasure them as well.
Next Week, June 24: Merge – a community worship gathering, at the Bellwether gallery
July 1 Re:Group gathering: Nooma 002 – Flame