SPIRIT Online is the only religion program for teens that links the Sunday Gospels to their lives. And it is all online—ready for teens on their phones and tablets. Ready for you to forward to parents and Confirmation sponsors. SPIRIT begins on October 6th this year. The autumn issues feature a series on prayer. Advent brings the prophecies of Isaiah for a peaceful world. The Sundays after Christmas explore Jesus as he teaches and heals in Galilee. The Lent and Easter issues ask teens what kind of Christians they want to be.
Any Sunday Gospel or SPIRIT issue can lead to conversion. When we let the Holy Spirit in, something good takes root. We are happy that SPIRIT is a part of that for the teens in your care. Please call Lacy at 800-232-5533 to set up your subscription for 2019-2020. Or go to goodgroundpress.com to place your order. May the blessings of summer be yours in abundance.
Currently, immigration dominates our news headlines and politics. Poverty, violence, war, displacement, no work—all can force people to move. These conditions separate many refugees and immigrants from families and friends for long periods of time. They have to navigate cultures, laws, and languages that they don’t know. They start anew in the hope of achieving a better future for themselves and their families. The song “You Belong” reminds us that everyone belongs and deserves the chance to thrive.
Key Lyrics: You belong / The whole world is waiting / No one else can sing your song / You belong / The lie that’s been chasing you / Love’s gonna prove it wrong / Open your eyes / Breathe in the light / You don’t have to hide / You belong
Questions: Visit un.org to learn more about why people may be forced to immigrate. How can you reach out to new students or neighbors different from you? Whose voices in your school or community are others not hearing? When do you listen to the voices of people who appear different from you?
“Whoever among you wants to be first must serve the needs of all. The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve.” This week’s SPIRIT focuses on service and the ways we can use our gifts to serve people who need our skills or help put food on the shelves for hungry people or organize a sleep out to raise money to shelter homeless people. Hearing Jesus’ call to serve means finding ways to share our resources and sustain our neighbors and community. TobyMac’s song, “It Starts With Me” reminds us that a movement to help others can start from one small spark, one person.
Key lines: Cause we can be free, yeah I know that / Let’s try to fix the things that’s been broke down / ‘Cause we can be free, yeah I know that / And it starts with me / This language that I speak / This dream on you and me / But one choice from together / It starts with me
Questions: What service to others would like to do or start in your community or school? What has past experience working on a service project taught you or how has it changed your perspective? How do you define “greatness?” How does Jesus define “greatness?” What kind of community do you want for yourself and the world?
Heifer International is an organization that makes its mission to eradicate poverty and hunger in the world, a mission like Jesus’ own. It is featured in Spirit this week. Heifer educates people about the lives of people who need help with the basics to thrive. The learning center invites young people to experience a “day in the life” of families from different countries where poverty is more common. The song “Tapestry” is about taking stock of the world around us and opening our minds to people we don’t know, who live differently than we do, who get by with less. Real world situations open our eyes to people’s needs in ways that can become part of our tapestry. We can learn to approach social issues with compassion and work together on creative solutions that help raise people up.
Key lines: Have you felt a revolution? / Do you ever sit to stop and pause / Just to take a little moment / To see what’s mine and yours? / And all the things that I’ve seen / You will always be part of my tapestry / And all the places I’ve been / You will always be part of my tapestry
Questions: How hard is finding God in the world today? When have you experienced God? What in the natural world inspires you? Who in the human community inspires you? Who helps you step beyond yourself in your concerns?
Not all the people in our communities and nation have the same access to education, healthcare, and justice. This week’s SPIRIT spotlights Appalachia and the effects of mountaintop mining. The song “Sea Change” asks us why are we closing our eyes to the plight of people in our midst who are poor when we are all in this world together.
Key lines: So where will we go when the waters threaten to wash us away? / And all of our sons and our daughters wilt in the heat of the day? / I feel the sun draw nearer, I feel the sea start to rise / Who’s looking back in the mirror? Why are they closing —Why are they closing their eyes? / …Why are we closing our eyes?
Questions: When have you closed your eyes to a problem in your community or school? When have you opened your eyes to a problem? What did you learn or do about it? What duties does government have for the people it serves? How do you balance serving God and following the laws of our country? What issues make you struggle to answer?
This week’s Spirit focuses on Jesus’ message that we are all sacred no matter who we are or what our circumstances may be. Life is full of ups and downs, and sometimes we make decisions that don’t work out. It’s important to remember that people who suffer from natural disasters, poverty, or lack of education are no less sacred than someone who lives in a fancy house, has a good job, or great education. Catholic social teaching stresses that we are ALL important in the eyes of God and it is our duty to remedy the injustices others may be going through.
Key Lyrics: So wait for me, I swear I’ll find you / Climbing every wall that hides you / I know we were meant for something better / So wait for me, the world is changing / Underneath the ground is shaking / You and I were meant for something better
Questions: Catholic Relief Services is a great example of putting the principles of Catholic social teaching into action. What other groups follow these teachings? Who do you know in your own life that embodies these teachings? What does the idea of putting your faith in action mean to you?