Friends, family, people we date all influence us as we grow and mature. These relationships can be both positive and negative. They can challenge who we think we are and who we want to be. They can push us into mistakes and teach us how to be better people. More importantly, relationships can teach us about mutual respect and openness. The song “Meant To Be” is about being open to new experiences and relationships.
Key lines:Who knows where this road is supposed to lead / We got nothing but time / As long as you’re right here next to me, everything’s gonna be alright / If it’s meant to be, it’ll be, it’ll be ‘Baby, just let it be / If it’s meant to be, it’ll be, it’ll be
Questions: What does “meant to be” mean? Does it mean relationships just happen, work out somehow, or in what ways do friends have to work at their relationships? How many close friendships can a person have? What qualities do close relationships have? How are they different from other relationships? What do you value most in relationships? Who in your life exemplifies a healthy relationship?
In high school many people come together to form their own social groups. These groups, or cliques, often have expectations about how to dress and act and who to include as a friend. Sometimes we have to sort out who we really are and who we like regardless of what other people expect. The song “Who Says” is about pushing back on expectations that do not fit who we are. It encourages us to embrace ourselves and find true beauty and confidence in being we were are meant to be.
Key Lyrics:You made me insecure / Told me I wasn’t good enough / But who are you to judge? / When you’re a diamond in the rough / I’m sure you got some things / You’d like to change about yourself / But when it comes to me / I wouldn’t want to be anybody else
Questions: What qualities do you look for in friends? What qualities do people expect from you? When have you tried to be someone you’re not? What is something beautiful about you?
Jesus calls forth their best selves in his disciples and sends his friends forth to spread the good news of his resurrection. Thomas touches the risen Jesus’ wounds and believes. SPIRIT extends the call that echoes down the centuries to continue Jesus’ mission, to go forth, and help our neighbors during times of need and crises. The song “We Got the Power” is an anthem about loving each other and working together towards a better future.
Key lines:We got the power to be loving each other / No matter what happens / We’ve got the power to do that / On a le pouvoir de s’aimer, okay? / We got the power to be ringing the great bell out there above us / We got the power for that / We got the power to do that
Questions: When have you experienced a community in crisis from tragedy or disasters? What did people need? What ways did you find to help people? When have you seen a community stand together? What initiatives would you like to start or volunteer for within your community?
Easter celebrates Jesus’ resurrection from the dead and new life. The word resurrection means awakening. Easter calls us to pay attention to holy moments, both in and outside church, and reflect on their meaning. The song “Your Grace Finds Me” is about a renewed sense of awakening and the realization that God’s grace is everywhere.
Key lines:It’s there in the newborn cry / It’s there in the light of every sunrise / It’s there in the shadows of this light / Your great grace / It’s there on the mountaintop / It’s there in the everyday and the mundane / There in the sorrow and the dancing / Your great grace
Questions: What does Easter celebrate? When have you been caught up in a holy moment? How do you show God’s love to people? When have you experienced holy moments in church?
Some experiences can shake our faith, especially when someone we love suffers. We may ask ourselves “why does God allow suffering?” The song “The Getting Through” is a reminder that even when we feel most alone, God is with us.
Key lines:Cause maybe the point is not the getting over / But the getting through / ‘Cause when I say “open” / All of my trust is fully in You / Then the waters open and then close / When I gеt to the other side / And I’ll look back at no bridgе / So my enemies can’t follow behind
Questions: What is the hardest thing about knowing that someone you love is suffering? How has suffering challenged your faith? How has God accompanied you in difficult times? How can you be there for someone else?
This week’s SPIRIT is about making room for new dreams. Accepting changes in our plans or setbacks in our hopes isn’t easy. But keeping broken windows open brings in sunlight, new possibilities, and growth. Coldplay’s song “Head Full of Dreams” invites watching for the change we want to be.
Key lines:And say it’s true / It’s not what it seems / Leave your broken windows open / And in the light just streams / And you get a head / A head full of dreams / You can see the change you want to / Be what you want to be
Questions: When have you worked hard at something that doesn’t go as planned? How did you handle this? In what new directions did the change take you? What frightens you? What excites you about change? What are some examples of changes taking place in your life? How does change challenge you to grow?
God so loves the world that God’s Son becomes one of us. This is Sunday’s gospel message. Jesus’ mission reveals God’s love as he reaches out to all the people he encounters. It doesn’t matter who you are, what you’ve done, or what you’re going through. The song “God, Your Mama, and Me” reminds us all that God loves and cares for us, imperfections and all.
Key Lyrics:Never gonna run dry, never gonna come up empty / Now until the day I die, unconditionally / You know I’m always gonna be here for ya / No one’s ever gonna love you more than / God, your mama, and me / God, your mama, and me / Unconditionally / God, your mama, and me
Questions: What relationship does God have with the world? What does Jesus show us about God’s relationships with all creation? Who shows you love when you feel down? How do you show love to others? What makes relationships difficult?
The first readings on Sunday’s during Lent feature great moments in Israel’s history, this week the giving of the ten commandments. SPIRIT explores what the commandments ask of us in our relationship with God and with our families, friends, neighbors, and even people we dislike. The commandments expect us to respect all people because ALL are equal in the eyes of God. Poverty leaves some people, especially women, without basic needs for themselves or their children. In many cultures and countries, women have few rights, little education, and diminished access to opportunities. Zoe Wees’ song “Girls Like Us” is about empowerment, strength, and continuing to fight for a better life, one where all have rights and protections.
Key Lyrics:It’s hard for girls like us / We don’t know who we trust / Not even the ones we love / ‘Cause they don’t know / Try to numb this pain / ‘Cause we don’t wanna get hurt again / Left alone out in the rain / They don’t know
Questions: What injustices do you experience or see in your school or neighborhood? In the world today? Who is working to right these injustices? How can you help? What commandments are especially important today? What new commandments do we need? How do you stand up for what you believe?
In the transfiguration gospel this Sunday, Jesus reveals who he is more fully to Peter, James, and John. The vision, which hints at Jesus’ resurrection, scares, confuses, and amazes the three disciples. Fear can cause us to hide our true selves from those around us. It can keep us from recognizing who someone else really is; it can prevent us from reaching out to others and affirming them. The song “Know Your Worth” is about reaching out to others, letting them know that we see them and that they are worth every effort, every kindness, every success.
Key lines:He keeps leaving you for dead / I don’t know what you been waiting for / So you’ve got your love locked up instead / But somethin’ better’s waitin’ at your door / You don’t know your worth / All the things I know that you deserve / Say it’s not real if it doesn’t hurt / Find someone you know will put you first / Find someone who loves you at your worst / Gotta keep, gotta keep, gotta keep your head up
Questions: What do you risk when you speak your truth? What can you do to reach out to others who stay apart? Who offers help to young people who need support or perhaps counseling? When has someone else affirmed you and made a transforming difference?
Some relationships bring out the best in us; we learn compassion and forgiveness. Friendships help us grow. Some relationships challenge our values and sense of who we are and want to be. Ally Brooke’s’ song “Fabulous” pushes back against falling for peer pressure. It’s about embracing our own self-worth and not settling for relationships that make us question ourselves or feel less.
Key lines:In my past / I put my heart in someone else’s hands / Let everybody tell me who I am (ooh, ooh, ooh) / But now I understand / That if I’m gonna love someone (one) / I’m just gonna love myself (self) / I already know I’m fabulous / I don’t need no one else (no one else)
Questions: What values do you look for in relationships? What challenges do young people face in making friends? How do you resolve the challenges? What keeps you centered when facing the demands of others? What does loving someone mean?