Music and the Gospel: “Cool Kids,” Echosmith

We all have times where we don’t feel like the “cool kid,” when our peers exclude us and hurt us. Some of us experience this more intensely than others. We each have the power to share the love we receive from God with those around us. Taking time to remember the pain we felt when we were hurt can motivate us to pull others into our circles of friends and keep them from feeling this pain.

Key Lines: I wish that I could be like the cool kids, / ‘Cause all the cool kids, they seem to fit in / I wish that I could be like the cool kids, like the cool kids.

Questions: Remember a time when you didn’t feel like a cool kid. Stand up and without talking move your body into a position that expresses what that felt like. Now move to a position that expresses what it feels like to be included and confident. What has happened when someone did include you among their friends? What is the one thing you can do to include someone whom you see being excluded?

World Food Day

“For I was hungry and you gave me food.” - Matthew 25.35

World Food Day is today. World farmers produce enough food for Earth’s more than six billion people, but nearly 870 million people struggle to survive on less than a $1.25 a day with little access to Earth’s abundance. Check out Bread for the World or worldfooddayusa.org to involve your Christian community in the advocacy efforts on behalf of policies to end hunger.

Music and the Gospel: “Our Generation,” John Legend & the Roots

The world only gets better when people actively work to make it a better place. God has beautiful dreams for our world and placed this precious gift in our hands to bring those dreams into fruition. God acts through and within each of us, but we must be open and willing to the Spirit’s movement. We must say yes to the urges to stand up for the kid who is getting picked on, to research an injustice we are curious about, or write a letter to our politician. John Legend makes it clear — “It’s all left up to us.”

Key Lines: Hope of the world is in our generation (let’s straighten it out) / It’s all left up to us, to change this present situation (let’s straighten it out) / As long as there’s a you, there’s a better me / It’s why we’re together and stronger than they ever thought it could be.

Questions: What have you seen recently on the news or in your life that you felt was unjust? Who was/is hurt by this? Who is working to straighten out this injustice? How can you become part of this work?

 

 

Music and the Gospel: “Blood Brothers,” Ingrid Michaelson

It can be easy to distance ourselves from people who seem strange to us. We have trouble seeing our similarities when we focus on our differences. This song points to what connects us; we are all part of God’s creation. This puts us into relationship; it makes us family. Once we recognize these “strangers” as our sisters and brothers we know how to relate to them — we treat them with the same love, support, and respect that we have for our own siblings and cousins. We are willing to save a seat for them, share our food, and invite them to join our team.

Key Lines: If you knew me would you save that seat for me? / If you knew me would you finally let me free? / What you need, what you need I need too / What you are, what you are I am too / ’cause we’re all the same under a different name / We’re all blood, we’re all blood, blood brothers / We’re all blood, we’re all blood, blood brothers.

Questions: What line from the song sticks out to you? What do you have in common with others who may seem different on the surface? Think of a time you were the “newbie.” What made you nervous about being new? What did you find welcoming and comforting that others did for you?

Music and the Gospel: “Compass” and the 3rd Sunday of Easter

When the risen Jesus appears to his friends on the road, they don’t recognize him immediately. However, they say their “hearts were on fire” when they talked with him and recognized him when they shared a meal. Similarly, when we feel moved to act out of compassion or justice, or we know in our hearts what choice we should make, Jesus is present with us—even if we don’t recognize it.

Key Lines: You wanna give up ‘cause it’s dark / We’re really not that far apart / So let your heart, sweet heart / Be your compass when you’re lost / And you should follow it wherever it may go

Questions: Who is a compass for you? What motivates you to act for justice? How have you developed these values? What is an example of following your heart or a cause you are fired up about? How does Jesus show us he is still alive today?

Music and the Gospel: “Ordinary Love” and Easter

Both Mary Magdalene and Thomas the apostle are sure that Jesus’ death means the end of their relationship with him. When Jesus appears to each of them, they learn that even the end of life on earth cannot separate them from the love of Jesus. In our lives, too, we often struggle to recognize that Jesus still lives and his love is always with us.

Key Lines: ‘Cause we can’t fall any further if we can’t feel ordinary love / And we cannot reach any higher, if we can’t deal with ordinary love / Are we tough enough for ordinary love?

Questions: What is ordinary about Jesus’ love for us? What is extraordinary? How is Jesus’ death and resurrection a sign of his love for us? Where do you see God present in our world? What keeps us from seeing God’s love? When is love a challenge? What makes faith difficult?

Music and the Gospel: Palm Sunday and “Pompeii” by Bastille

When we remember the passion of Jesus, we also remember the struggles and suffering that many in our communities face every day. This is a day to learn more about their needs, pray for them, and find ways to help. Like the story of Jesus’ passion, the song “Pompeii” reminds us of the need to strip away what keeps us separated from each other.

Key Lines: We were caught up and lost in all of our vices / In your pose as the dust settled around us / And the walls kept tumbling down/ In the city that we love / Grey clouds roll over the hills / Bringing darkness from above

Questions: What can distract us from following Jesus? What ideas or habits need to be torn down? What do you think Jesus’ death meant for his first followers? Where do we see the suffering of Jesus in our communities? In what ways can we respond to that suffering?