Music and the Gospel: “Open Hands,” Urban Rescue, Easter Sunday

Easter is where Christian faith begins. It celebrates Jesus’ resurrection. The Church often baptizes new believers at Easter time. Spirit is about a young woman who wakes up to what she believes at a baptism. For some people, believing is as natural as breathing; others journey a longer way through doubting and questioning. They may find people in their lives whose faith opens their hearts and minds to the teachings of Jesus. The song “Open Hands” is about opening ourselves up to the possibilities that come with faith and embracing a wider community that encourages and sustains us.

Key Lines: I’m placing all my trust / Into a higher love / You’re dreaming bigger dreams / You have a plan for me / And though I cannot see / Here I am with open hands

Questions: Where are you on your faith journey? How do you describe yourself as a believer? How do examples of faith in other people inspire you? Who has influenced your believing? What baptisms have you witnessed? What does baptism mean to you?

Music and the Gospel: “One Call Away,” Charlie Puth, Easter

When someone we love dies, it can seem like the end of the world. This week’s Spirit deals with loss. It also deals with resurrection. The stories in this issue tell us that while someone may not physically be with us any longer, they live in our hearts and minds. The song “One Call Away” reminds us that when we need to be supported (or when someone needs our support), all we have to do is ask. We’re not alone, not without them.

Key Lyrics: No matter where you go / You know you’re not alone / I’m only one call away / I’ll be there to save the day / Superman got nothing on me / I’m only one call away

Questions: When have you lost someone you loved? What do you most remember about the person? In what way do you experience the person still with you? How have you helped someone through an illness? How did the illness affect your relationship?

4th Week of Easter

Photo via Flickr user Waiting For The Word

Photo via Flickr user Waiting For The Word

“My sheep hear my voice. I know them and they follow me.” – John 10.27

Good shepherds care for their flocks, or employees, or clients, or students as they do for themselves. They accompany their flocks through danger, drought, and dark valleys.

Hear what God’s voice directs you to do in your daily life. Be a caring friend and coworker this week, especially to those who seem outside the flock or in danger.

Prayer of the Week: Lord, you are my shepherd. Let me hear your voice.

3rd Week of Easter

Photo via Flickr user AshtonPal

Photo via Flickr user AshtonPal

“Do you love me?” – John 21.17

Three times the risen Jesus asks his friend and disciple Peter the question, “Do you love me?” Perhaps Jesus asks three times because Peter denied Jesus three times. Live your answer to Jesus’ question this week. Testify in your actions that you love those with whom Jesus identifies in this world.

Give a gift of attentive, uninterrupted listening this week to two people — the one you love most and one very different from you, perhaps foreign in culture. Remember each evening ways your actions said, “Lord, you know that I love you.”

Prayer for the Week: You know that I love you.

2nd Week of Easter

Photo via Flickr user Mark Sardella

Photo via Flickr user Mark Sardella

“Do not persist in your unbelief, but believe!” – John 20.27

Most of us doubt at times in our lives. We doubt faith matters or can change the world. We sometimes doubt that we ourselves, or people we love, or religious institutions can respond to the renewing Spirit.

Identify a specific doubt you carry. Ask for the guidance of the Spirit to resolve the doubt or to live into a new insight. Seek insight by walking and observing creation awakening to new life.

Prayer for the Week: I believe. Help my unbelief.

Easter Week

Photo via Flickr user T

Photo via Flickr user T

“Get rid of the old yeast. Let us celebrate this feast with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” – 1 Corinthians 5.8

Celebrate an Easter custom that expresses how your ancestors enculturated the Easter message. Bake or buy an Easter bread that has ethnic roots. Decorate eggs with Christian symbols and the Easter word Alleluia.

Let Alleluia, which means Praise God, be your constant prayer celebrating the Risen Christ and the Body of Christ we are. Begin meal or bedtime prayers with this Easter word.

Prayer for the week: Alleluia!