Music and the Gospel: “Magic,” Thomas Gold, ft. Jillian Edwards

This week’s SPIRIT talks about what influences us, especially how what and who we love influence our decisions. SPIRIT also invites us to look at the consequences of our decisions, whether they be small-scale or large scale, and how we can work to minimize any negative impacts our decisions may have. The song “Magic” extends this theme by pointing out that when we allow ourselves to recognize the beauty of the world around us, then the energy of God’s creation fills us. When we allow that magic to radiate out, we are capable of changing the world for the better.

Key Lines: Like a wildfire deep inside got turned loose / You’re the only one who made me feel that / Now the sun is setting, let it take you baby / Take every drop of you and drink you in / Now I know / You put the magic in my bones

Questions: When have you made a choice without awareness of its ethical and personal implications? How can you make yourself and your community more aware of the consequences of their actions? What global issue interests you enough to learn more about it and become more involved in it? What are ways you can have a voice in our world?

Music and the Gospel: “Rise Up,” Andra Day

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?

Music and the Gospel: “In The Name Of Love,” Martin Garrix and Bebe Rexha

It isn’t easy to see the poverty in our own backyards if we are not living in it. People living without what they need don’t want us to see what is happening. Most of us want to help if we do see others, especially young people our own age, in tough situations. We serve God when we serve our neighbors. Some people have the means to donate money; other people donate time and talents. This week’s SPIRIT explores service and ways to put our faith into action. The song “In The Name Of Love” is a powerful song about what it means to be called to a higher purpose or cause. It’s also a challenge to move us into action.

Key Lines: I wanna testify / Scream in the holy light / You bring me back to life / And it ’s all in the name of love

Questions: Where do you see people living in poverty in your community? What are some ways you can serve in your local community? When have you felt called to a higher purpose?

Music and the Gospel: “Million Reasons,” Lady Gaga, 3rd Sunday Advent

This week’s Spirit focuses on open-mindedness and communication, on discovering what we have in common with people who hold different beliefs, come from different cultures, and have life experiences unlike our own. We live in a global world with social media and the internet at our fingertips. We need to learn how to build bridges between ourselves and so many kinds of different others. Lady Gaga’s song “Million Reasons” explores the desire to walk away from someone but acknowledges one reason to stay that overcomes all the others: love.
 
Key Lyrics: When I bow down to pray / I try to make the worst seem better / Lord, show me the way / To cut through all his worn out leather / I’ve got a hundred million reasons to walk away / But baby, I just need one good one, good one / Tell me that you’ll be the good one, good one / Baby, I just need one good one to stay

Questions: When have you been in conflict or felt frustration with someone from a different background? How might you learn what you have in common? How does listening to others’ stories help you better understand them? When has talking led you to change your mind about someone or something?

Music and the Gospel: “Just Like Fire,” Pink, 29th Sunday Ordinary Time

As of 2013, roughly 65 million children (over half of them girls) were unable to continue school beyond an elementary grade level. This is especially common in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. Many of the girls in these countries are actually expected to get married and start families at very young ages. Schools like the Kenya Girls Soccer Academy aim to help girls to finish their education, which will then allow them to get jobs that will hopefully raise them out of poverty. These schools also create a support system for the girls and encourage them to be more confident in themselves and their capabilities. Pink’s song blazes forth with self-empowerment and strength. It emphasizes the power confidence can give anyone to break through barriers and change their community and the world.

Key Lyrics: Just like fire, burning out the way / If I can light the world up for just one day / Watch this madness, colorful charade / No one can be just like me anyway / Just like magic, I’ll be flying free

Questions: Who is a female role model in your life? In what ways is she strong? What has she had to overcome? What is education important?