Music and the Gospel: “Love With Your Life,” Hollyn, 3rd Sunday of Easter

“Eucharist is the central action of the Christian community…It’s where we find the future we want to commit ourselves to build.” Spirit explores how every Eucharist calls us to put our faith into action and to love with our lives as Jesus did, reaching out to all, familiar friends and new and different people. Hollyn’s song “Love With Your Life” boldly challenges us to live life fully and become symbols of hope and change, whether by helping someone obtain a simple meal, learning about a social issue, or taking an active role in social justice issues.

Key Lines: You gotta love with your life / Like a fire burning strong / Til’ the night has come and gone / There’s a hope that lives in you / You gotta love with your life / Like a warrior / Fight, lay it on the line / If you wanna see a change / You gotta love with your life

Questions: When have you been unable to ignore the plight of someone in your school or community? What did you do to help in that moment? What situations or people do you feel your community ignores? How can you make people more aware of this issue? What does Eucharist teach you about loving with your life?

Check out these Social Justice Resources to learn more getting involved in your school and community.

Music and the Gospel: “something in the Water,” Carrie Underwood, Easter/2nd Sunday of Easter

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 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 “Something in the Water” is about opening ourselves up to the possibilities that come with faith and embracing a wider community that encourages and sustains us.

Key Lines: There must be something in the water / Oh, there must be something in the water / And now I’m singing along to amazing grace / Can’t nobody wipe this smile off my face / Got joy in my heart, angels on my side / Thank God almighty, I saw the light / Gonna look ahead, no turning back / Live everyday, give it all that I have / Trust in someone bigger than me / Ever since the day that I believed

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: “Live Again,” Sean Curran, Palm/Passion Sunday

As Christians move through Holy Week, we reflect on Jesus’ ministry and the final events of his life. In doing this we reflect on Jesus’ message of self-giving love, compassion, and forgiveness. The song “Live Again” reflects on God’s love, how God sustains us and calls us to love one another. When we embrace Jesus’ call to love wholeheartedly, we become his witnesses to others, living beacons of hope.

Key Lines: Jesus, Jesus / Your love is breaking chains / Right now, right now / Nothing can stop You / Jesus, Jesus / You’re overturning graves / Right now, right now / Oh / The blind will see, the sick will stand / Sing hallelujah with confidence / Let healing come, let mercy in / Sing hallelujah and live again

Questions: Reflect back on the weeks of Lent. What have you learned or discovered about Jesus and his ministry? What have you discovered about your own commitment as his follower? What Lenten practices do you want to continue? How will you keep love alive in your home, school, and community?

Music and the Gospel: "Soon You'll Get Better," Taylor Swift ft. The Dixie Chicks

What does it mean to be courageous? Sometimes courage means standing up for or with someone through a conflict, or a big game, or through a punishing sickness. Two brothers play basketball in the Spirit story; one has to struggle with cancer. The other shaves his head in solidarity. Taylor Swift’s song “You’ll Get Better Soon” is about navigating the pain of watching someone go through cancer and having faith that they’ll get better.

Lyrics: I know delusion when I see it in the mirror / You like the nicer nurses, you make the best of a bad deal / I just pretend it isn’t real /I’ll paint the kitchen neon, I’ll brighten up the sky / I know I’ll never get it, there’s not a day that I won’t try / And I’ll say to you / Ooh-ah, soon you’ll get better / Ooh-ah, soon you’ll get better

Questions: When have been close to someone experiencing a major illness? How did it change the person? How did it affect you? What did you learn from the person who was sick? How did/do you support him or her? What does courage mean?

Music and the Gospel: “10,000 Hours,” Dan + Shay, Justin Bieber

Spirit explores what it means to be in a healthy relationship. The high school years are prime time for making friends and dating. Most of us spend those years within a wide circle of friends and, as we get older, we start to pair off into more exclusive relationships. When we date, we explore and set boundaries, expectations, and priorities. The song “10,000 Hours” is about being in love and how we open ourselves up to experiencing love.

Lyrics: When you close your eyes / Tell me what are you dreaming? / Everything, I wanna know it all / I’d spend 10,000 hours and 10,000 more / Oh, if that’s what it takes to learn that sweet heart of yours / And I might never get there but I’m gonna try / If it’s 10,000 hours or the rest of my life / I’m gonna love you (Ooh) / I’m gonna love you

Questions: What does love mean to you? How do you describe a healthy relationship? What boundaries do you keep between people? Who do you want to be within your circle of friends, family, or with a significant other?

Music and the Gospel: “Lose You To Love Me,” Selena Gomez

Spirit explores our ideas of self-image and beauty in this issue. High school can be a difficult time. A lot of personal and social changes take place in these years; we’re constantly trying to fit in and fit an image of who we think we should be and who people will accept. Trying to live up to these expectations can make us act in ways that aren’t in our best interests. Expectations can make us hard ourselves and others when we don’t fit into certain ideals. Selena Gomez’s song “Lose You to Love Me” is a song that reflects how hard breaking up with someone is or stopping something that isn’t good for us. Breaking up can be necessary in order to be our best selves.

Lyrics: We’d always go into it blindly / I needed to lose you to find me / This dancing was killing me softly / I needed to hate you to love me, yeah / To love, love, yeah / To love, love, yeah / To love, yeah / I needed to lose you to love me, yeah

Questions: What ideals do you want others to see in you? How are your self-expectations different from others’ social expectations in your school? How are they the same? When have these expectations come into conflict? How did you handle it?

Music and the Gospel: “Keep On,” Sasha Sloan, 1st Sunday of Lent

In Sunday’s Gospel the Spirit leads Jesus into the desert where he fasts, prays, and chooses his path. The devil offers temptations to show off magical powers—turn stones to bread and test if angels catch him if he jumps off the temple. Jesus chooses the path of keeping the commandment to worship and follow God alone. Jesus choosing his identity and mission. He serves God. SPIRIT tells a familiar high school story—balancing others’ expectations and keeping true to our own expectations and happiness. Who do we want to be? What will becoming that person take? Sasha Sloan’s song “Keep On” is about struggling with these questions while still keeping on the path.

Lyrics: The walls are starting to cave in / Sometimes, I wish I was somebody else / When my mind starts misbehaving / Is when I tell myself / Okay, baby, you’ll be okay / You just gotta keep, gotta keep on

Questions: What pressures and expectations do you face on a daily basis? How does this challenge who you want to be? How do you handle these pressures? What does happiness mean to you?

Music and the Gospel: “Lights Up,” Harry Styles

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.” Harry Styles’ song “Lights Up” is about rising above the fray and challenging ourselves and those around us to be better.

Lyrics: All the lights couldn’t put out the dark / Runnin’ through my heart / Lights up and they know who you are / Know who you are / Do you know who you are? (Oh) / Shine, step into the light / Shine, so bright sometimes / Shine, I’m not ever going back

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?

Music and the Gospel: “Epiphany,” BTS

In high school, moments when we feel on the outside looking in happen a lot.  Everyone wants to be popular; everyone wants to be included. Often we feel socially tested, judged about everything from the people we hang out with to the very clothes we wear. It’s also a time when we determine what and who are important to us: is being popular more important than just being ourselves? Who are real friends? The song “Epiphany” is about realizing that we shouldn’t have to change who we are just to please someone else. It’s about recognizing that each of us is worthy of love and respect regardless of what anyone else might say or do.

Lyrics: So weird, I for sure loved you so much / Adapted to you with everything, I wanted to live my life for you / But as I keep doing that I just can’t bear the storm inside my heart / The real myself inside the smiling mask, I reveal it entirely / I’m the one I should love in this world / Shining me, precious soul of mine / I finally realized so I love me / Not so perfect but so beautiful / I’m the one I should love

Questions: What does popularity mean in your school?  What or who have your given up to be popular?  Why do groups act so cruelly about who is in and who is out?  What does it mean to bully another person? What instances of bullying have you seen around your school or community?