“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?
Jesus calls forth their best selves in his disciples and sends his friends forth to spread the good news of his resurrection. Thomas touches the risen Jesus’ wounds and believes. SPIRIT extends the call that echoes down the centuries to continue Jesus’ mission, to go forth, and help our neighbors during times of need and crises. The song “We Got the Power” is an anthem about loving each other and working together towards a better future.
Key lines: We got the power to be loving each other / No matter what happens / We’ve got the power to do that / On a le pouvoir de s’aimer, okay? / We got the power to be ringing the great bell out there above us / We got the power for that / We got the power to do that
Questions: When have you experienced a community in crisis from tragedy or disasters? What did people need? What ways did you find to help people? When have you seen a community stand together? What initiatives would you like to start or volunteer for within your community?
Some experiences can shake our faith. Something goes wrong, or we watch someone we love suffer pain. During these times, it can be a challenge to feel God’s presence. We may ask ourselves “why does God allow suffering?” The song “Look After You” is a reminder that even when we feel most alone, God is always looking after us.
Key lines: And if you ever should lose hope / Follow my light from afar / When you don’t know where you’re going to / I will look after you / I will look after you
Questions: What is the hardest thing about watching someone you love suffer? How has suffering challenge your faith? How has God been there for you during difficult times? How can you be there for someone else?
Lent scripture readings include great moments in Israel’s history, this week the giving of the ten commandments. SPIRIT explores what the commandments ask of us in our relationship with God and with our families, friends, neighbors, and even people we dislike. The commandments expect us to respect all people because ALL are equal in the eyes of God. Poverty leaves some people, especially women, without basic needs for themselves or their children. In many cultures and countries, women have few rights, little education, and diminished access to opportunities. Alicia Keys’ song “Superwoman” is about empowerment, strength, and continuing to fight for a better life, one where all have rights and protections.
Key Lyrics: For all the mothers fighting / For better days to come / And all my women, all my women sitting here trying / To come home before the sun / And all my sisters / Coming together / Say yes I will / Yes I can / I am a Superwoman / Yes I am / Yes she is / Even when I’m a mess / I still put on a vest / With an S on my chest / Oh yes / I’m a Superwoman
Questions: What injustices do you experience or see in your school or neighborhood? In the world today? Who is working to right these injustices? How can you help? What commandments are especially important today? What new commandments do we need? How do you stand up for what you believe?
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?
Some relationships bring out the best in us; they teach us compassion and forgiveness. Other relationships challenge our values and perceptions of who we are and what we want. Gavin James’ song “Hearts on Fire” is about relationships and the challenges that occur when we’re pulled in different directions.
Key lines: Strangers in my head / Keep making me forget / Where I came from…/ There’s madness in eyes / We’re too blind to realize / Just what we’ve done… / I feel it taking a hold / I feel a rush in my bones / For you / I think we’re caught in a fight / Can we make it alright / With all these shadows on our backs / How can we take it back and / How can we love with our hearts on fire
Questions: What values do you look for in relationships? When has a relationship challenged you? How did you resolve the challenges? What keeps you centered when facing the demands of others? What does loving someone mean?
We all experience times when we lose self-confidence and berate ourselves for not being smart enough or good looking enough, for not fitting into what social media, advertising, even our own peers, tell us is the “popular” way to look and act. These can be challenging times that affect how we see ourselves and our roles within our society. The song “Burn So Bright” is about embracing who we are and letting our light shine in spite of the people who would otherwise keep us down.
Key lines: When you fall, you’re gonna hit hard / When you love with your whole heart / Remember the hard times make ya you / That’s when we’ll show the world / They’re not gonna break us
Questions: When have you felt pressure to look or act a certain way? What are some reasons people get shunned in your school or community? Do you think these reasons are valid? When have you challenged the status quo? How have you handled bullies in your life?