Music and the Gospel: “Chasing Shadows,” Santigold, 1st Sunday of Lent

Santigold says that her song “Chasing Shadows” is about being “caught in the web we spin around ourselves…as quickly as we reach our goals, our gaze shifts to those still looming…we judge ourselves harshly for not being further ont he path” (Pitchfork). High school is a stressful time. Our own expectations and the expectations of those around us put the weight of the world on our shoulders. It’s important to recognize when we need to slow down, when we or someone around us might not be making the best decisions, whether it’s about grades, relationships, or even physical health.

Key Lyrics: Maybe I won’t get it wrong, no patience for myself / Only this is ideas come old, I’m living on the shelf / I will follow in thinkin’ the long way if my standards hold up

Questions: What expectations do you have for yourself? What expectations do others have for you? Which expectations influence the way you make decisions? How do you balance these expectations?

Music and the Gospel: “Amerika,” Wintersleep

This week’s Spirit tells us the story of Father Tolton, the first African-American priest. It also touches on a time in American history when slavery existed and racism flourished. Unfortunately, despite the outlawing of slavery as well as the civil rights movement of the ’60s, recent events have shown that racism is still part of our society. Black Lives Matter; every person’s life matters. Accepting all who are different from us challenges us every day. Father Tolton gives an inspiring example of persevering against ignorance for the betterment of our communities and society.

Key Lyrics: What am I trying to find? / Are you alive, oh my Amerika? / Perennial with the Earth / And freedom, love, and law, and life / …It doesn’t mean that we can’t try / Fix me in your twilight eyes / So we can make a moment last

Questions: When have you experienced prejudice? How did you feel? Who in your school or city have you seen exposed to prejudice? How did you handle it? What are some ways you can combat prejudice in your school or city?

Music and the Gospel: “Mountain At My Gates,” Foals

Not everyone has two (or even one) loving parents, access to a better education, or a comfortable home. It’s important to see other people with eyes of compassion. it’s important to be a message of hope and encouragement even when people face very rough times. We’re all climbing our own personal mountains. It never hurts to hold out a hand to help someone facing a steeper climb than ours.

Key Lyrics: Dark clouds gather ’round / Will I run or stand my ground? / Oh, when I come to climb / Show me the mountain so far behind

Questions: What mountains are you attempting to climb? What can you do to provide hope to someone who needs it? Who can you at least greet and show you know them? What community projects can you get involved in or start to help encourage those who need a helping hand?

 

Music and the Gospel: “Oasis,” A Great Big World

The Syrian refugee crisis and migrant stories at our own borders have pushed immigration issues into our news and politics. Poverty, displacement, and lack of opportunity push people to seek better ways to provide for themselves and their families. Refugees and immigrants are often isolated for long periods of time from the people they love. They live in places where they may not know the laws, culture, or language. They make these sacrifices in the hope of a better future for themselves and the ones they love. They are working to find the paradise where they can live in safety, comfort, and with dignity.

Key Lyrics: When we’re lost in a desert at night / And we’re chasing our paradise / When we can’t fight another fight / We’re gonna make it / You’re my oasis

Questions: Visit the un.org to learn more about the refugee crisis facing the world. How can you reach out to new students or neighbors different from you? How can you get involved and help shoulder some of the humanitarian concerns? Whose voices are not heard in your school or community? How can you ensure that your neighbors’ voices are heard?