Jesus reveals who he is more fully Peter, James, and John in the transfiguration gospel this Sunday. The vision anticipating 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 “Do Right” is about reaching out to others, letting them know that we see them, and doing right by the people around us.
Key lines: I miss the way my mama knew what to do / She said to do right by your neighbor / And they’ll do right by you / When we get older we can forget the truth / That if you do right by your neighbor / Then they’ll do right by you
Questions: What do you risk when you speak your truth? When have you opened up about something you’ve been scared to share? What does it mean to “do right” by your neighbor? What can you do to reach out to those in need? When has someone else affirmed you and made a transforming difference?
This week’s Spirit tackles our ideas of self-image and beauty. High school can be a difficult time. A lot of personal and social changes are taking place; we’re constantly trying to fit in and fit an image of who we think we should be and who people will accept. Trying to live up to these expectations can make us act in ways that aren’t in our best interests. Alessia Cara’s song “Scars To Your Beautiful” is a song that reminds us that we’re all beautiful regardless of who might say otherwise.
Key Lyrics: But there’s a hope that’s waiting for you in the dark / You should know you’re beautiful just the way you are / And you don’t have to change a thing, the world could change its heart / No scars to your beautiful, we’re stars and we’re beautiful
Questions: What is your idea of perfection? How are your self-expectations different from social expectations? When have these expectations come into conflict? How did you handle it?
We cope with emotions, especially painful ones, in different ways. Difficult times can throw off our sense of self and purpose. Some people can’t get past the challenge, while others seem to embrace it, adjust, and move on. Painful experiences can actually be a time of growth; we get an idea of what we are capable of and how we handle things. This can actually deepen our sense of self and purpose. It also brings us closer to those around us and has the power to deepen our faith.
Key Lyrics: Don’t be so hard on yourself, no / Learn to forgive, learn to let go / Everyone trips, everyone falls / So don’t be so hard on yourself, no
Questions: What has surprised you lately? How has a painful experience changed your idea of who you are? What did you learn from it? How were you able to move on? How can you use your experience to help others going through something similar?
Imagine you are alongside Peter, James, and John. When you enter into the Gospel reading for this Sunday, you are about to follow Jesus up the mountain. What does it mean to you to witness Jesus transfigured, brilliant, dazzling? In this time of Lent, we can sometimes be so consumed by somber, penitential reverence that we lose sight of the marvelous image of Jesus transfigured. Keep your eyes and heart open to bear witness to such transformation. After all, when you are going up the mountain with Christ, you will begin to see the kingdom of God differently — and pray that you remain open to the ways in which you are called to transform that kingdom.
Key Lyrics: Burn away the things I hold tight / Give me eyes to see / Your kingdom the way You want it to be
Questions: Where is the Divine being revealed to you in your daily life? Is it dazzling, or perhaps more subtle? This week, think of one or two actions you can do that will positively impact those around you. How are you participating in God’s kingdom? Spend some time in quiet prayer meditating on how Jesus is walking alongside you on this Lenten journey.