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 “You Are Loved” reminds us all that God loves and cares for us, imperfections and all.
Key Lyrics: You are loved / If your heart’s in a thousand pieces / If you’re lost and you’re far from reason / Just look up; know you are loved / Just look up; and know you are loved / When it feels like something’s missing / If it hurts but you can’t find healing / Just look up, know you are loved / Just look up, know you are loved
Questions: What relationship does God have with the world? How is this reflected in Jesus’ relationship with his followers? Who shows you love when you feel down? How do you show love to others? What makes relationships difficult?
“Without roots in the people, no government can avail, much less when it wants to impose its program through bloodshed and sorrow.” In 1980, Archbishop Oscar Romero was assassinated not long after he spoke these words. Romero challenged his government to end the violence that was sweeping through his country and killing his people. He refused to be silent about the injustice that was affecting the poorer classes of El Salvador. The song “Believer” is about recognizing the pain that injustice causes and using it as a force to bring about personal and social change.
Key Lines: First things first / I’ma say all the words inside my head / I’m fired up and tired of the way that things have been, oh-ooh / The way that things have been, oh-ooh / …Singing from heartache from the pain / Take up my message from the veins / Speaking my lesson from the brain / Seeing the beauty through the… / Pain!
Questions: Who do you see standing up injustice to people who are poor? What examples of injustice do you see in our society? How can you take a stand against them?
Throughout our lives we make many decisions. Some are no-brainers. Some difficult and scary, even painful and heartbreaking. Spirit follows the inner workings of one young woman’s thought process as she weighs her options, her conscience, and the advice of those around her to make the best choice possible for all involved. Adele’s song expresses the how one moment can change our lives forever.
Lyrics: I remember all the things that I thought I wanted to be / So desperate to find a way out of my world / And finally breathe / Right before my eyes I saw my heart come to life / This ain’t easy, it’s not meant to be/ Every story has its scars
Questions: Think back to a time when you had to make a difficult decision. How did you feel? How did you approach the choice? What reasons did you have for going one way rather than another? What resulted from your decision and what did you learn from the experience?
One of the most recognizable verses from the Bible is central to Sunday’s gospel. “For God so loved the world that God gave the only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life” (John 3.16). After this hope-filled declaration, the gospel contrasts light and darkness. The song helps us remember that the journey from darkness to light is not confined to a single moment but rather is an ongoing conversion. Christ, the light of the world, continually calls us into that light.
Key Lyrics: I hear a voice and he calls me redeemed / When others say I’ll never be enough / And greater is the One living inside of me / Then he who is living in the world
Questions: Name a few moments when you witness hope for a world that God dearly loves. Where or in whom do you see Christ’s light? What do you see with the light of Jesus’ love and teaching? What do you see as the purpose in your life?