When Jesus encounters the devil in the desert, he must choose either to give into people’s popular ideas of the messiah, which the devil represents, or to do what he knows is right from the scriptures. While rarely as dramatic as what Jesus faced, we face difficult choices every day. “Follow My Feet” is a song about the challenges of following our consciences and doing what is right.
Key Lines: And the high road’s steady and steep / And the low road’s easy and deep / Guess I’ll follow, follow, follow my feet / Guess I’ll follow, follow, follow my feet
Questions: What tempts you by seeming to be easier than doing what is right? Who do you trust to be a good example for your life? How do you describe what conscience is? When is it easy or hard to listen to your conscience? What challenges do you face this Lent? How does the tradition of “giving something up” for Lent help you face temptations?
In Sunday’s gospel Jesus insists that worrying about material wealth won’t bring security and safety. He holds up the birds of the air and lilies of the field as examples of God’s care that we can trust. Our culture reinforces that idea that buying things and having more than those around us will make us happy, but as followers of Jesus, we know true joy is our relationships. The song “Price Tag” is a reminder of the distractions of money and glamour, and where we find true happiness.
Key Lines: Why is everybody so obsessed? / Money can’t buy us happiness / Can we all slow down and enjoy right now? / Guarantee we’ll be feeling alright
Questions: What material things distract you from what is important? When does money cause you worry or stress? What do you think Jesus would tell you about that? What responsibility do you think we have to those who are poor or in need in other ways? How can the way we use our resources, such as money, be an expression of what we believe?
This week’s issue of SPIRIT ONLINE features an excerpt from “A Long Way Gone” by Ishmael Beah.
As a child soldier Ishmael Beah learned firsthand that revenge spreads and multiplies without limits or fairness. He joined the army rather than starve after his family was killed. Older soldiers told him the army gave him a way to avenge the killings of his family. At the United Nations Ishmael testifies to what he has lived: revenge never ends, killing leads to more killing.
Here he further discusses his experiences as a child soldier in Sierra Leone:
Ishmael Beah has just released a second book – a novel called “Radiance of Tomorrow.” It is set in post-war Sierra Leone.
Sunday’s gospel is challenging. Jesus calls his followers to forgive those who harm us. Not only are we called to forgive, we are called to show compassion as children of God. “Rough Water” is a song about forgiveness but even more about the promise of love through difficult times.
Key Lines: We been through rough water anytime it was tougher / But the fact I came back to remind you I love ya / And if that’s not enough, well I can one up ya / I pinky promise touch thumbs I’ll never make you suffer
Questions: Why do we cause harm to others? What does it mean to truly forgive? What is better about showing or not showing forgiveness to those who hurt you? Why do you think Jesus calls us to forgive those who hurt us?
Jesus challenges his disciples in Sunday’s gospel to follow God’s laws not only in external ways but also in their hearts and actions. He recommends not faking worship, but leaving our gifts at the altar and dealing with anger toward someone. Jesus asks us to live God’s laws in our hearts, to act and speak truthfully. “Love Don’t Die” is a song about the ability of our actions to show the world what we truly believe.
Key Lines: If there is one thing, that’s true / It’s not what I say, it’s what I do / And I say too much, yeah, that’s true / So just listen to what I do / A thousand years go by / But love don’t die
Questions: Why do you think actions are so much more important than words? How do your actions and choices show you are a follower of Jesus? Do you think what you believe is as important as how you act? Why or why not?
Jesus asks his followers to share their gifts with the world: to be salt for the earth and to let their lights shine. However, sharing who we are isn’t always easy even with friends. Katy Perry’s “Roar” is a song about the courage it takes to share our gifts.
Key Lines: I got the eye of the tiger, a fighter, dancing through the fire / ‘Cause I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me roar / Louder, louder than a lion / ‘Cause I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me roar
Questions: What is the light you want to shine to the world? What light does the world need? What does the world lose when we don’t share our gifts with each other? What flavor do you add in groups? Who helps you feel brave enough to do what is right? How can you help someone else shine their light?