“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?
In the day-to-day shuffle, we cyberbeings often forget to unplug and recognize the beauty in the world around us. Sometimes that beauty takes a little work to uncover, whether it’s cleaning up a road ditch or a deserted piece of land. This week’s Spirit reminds us that we live in communion with Earth and that we are responsible for taking care of our common home. Kari Jobe’s song “The Garden” reiterates this message by reminding us that hope exists all around us, in all we make and grow.
Key Lines: Faith is rising up like ivy / Reaching for the light / Hope is stirring deep inside me / Making all things right… / Now I see redemption / Growing in the trees / The death and resurrection / In every single seed…
Questions: What can Earth teach you? How do we affect Earth? What concerns you most about the world we live in? What initiatives can you start in your school and community to make the world a better place?
Turning the other cheek when someone hits you is an act of nonviolence, of stopping violence rather than taking it to another level. Whether a bully by choice or a child soldier by force, fighting leads to more fighting, violence feeds violence. Jesus challenges us to stop the payback cycles, “to love our enemies, pray for our persecutors.” Katy Perry’s song “Rise” is about rising above the fray and challenging ourselves and those around us to be better.
Key Lines: I won’t just survive / Oh, you will see me thrive /Can’t write my story / I’m beyond the archetype / I won’t just conform / No matter how you shake my core / ‘Cause my roots, they run deep, oh
Questions: What does Jesus mean when he tells us to love our enemies? When have you turned the other cheek? How can you reach out to those you disagree with or join with others to stop those who bully? What are some ways you can resolve situations peacefully?
Dr. Martin Luther King wrote that “…any law that degrades human personality is unjust.” The news constantly confronts us with oppression based on race, gender, beliefs in our society and world. It’s important to recognize oppression and to initiate peaceful changes that ensure that everyone has equal rights to resources and education. Andra Day’s song “Rise Up” is about overcoming obstacles and oppression and finding strength in standing together to make the world a better place.
Key Lines: You’re broken down and tired / Of living life on a merry go round / And you can’t find the fighter / But I see it in you so we gonna walk it out / And move mountains / We gonna walk it out / And move mountains
Questions: What are some examples of oppression you have seen in your school and community? What about in our country and our world? How can you help combat that oppression in a peaceful way? When have you felt oppressed? Were you able to bridge the gap between you and your oppressors? How?
Cyber-bullying is a major issue today. The benefit of social media is that it gives us a platform to express ourselves; it gives us a chance to show off our personalities and values. Most of the time this is fun. On the other hand, social media can be used to express opinions and beliefs that prove hurtful to those around us. Sometimes, these opinions start off as jokes and take on a life of their own. As a result, we can become someone we actually are not. This week’s Spirit issue focuses on the downside of pretending to be someone else and the consequences it has on those one hurts and on our own conscience.
Key Lyrics: Don’t throw stones at me / Don’t tell anybody / Trouble finds me / All the noise of this / Has made me lose my belief / I’m going back to my roots
Questions: What is the difference between teasing and bullying? Is there any? If so, how do you draw the line between them? How have words had a positive or negative impact on you or someone else? Think about a time you may have said something that may have hurt someone else. How can you make it right?
Photo from the Catholic Relief Services Facebook page
Today is World Food Day 2015! This day marks the founding of the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations. This year’s theme is: “Social Protection and Agriculture: Breaking the Cycle of Rural Poverty”. Join in solidarity against hunger, especially among the poorest people. Visit the websites of the Food and Agricultural Organization, Heifer International, and Catholic Relief Services to see how you can contribute and help make this generation a Zero Hunger Generation.