Music and the Gospel: “Build My Life,” Pat Barrett, Baptism of the Lord

Those of us baptized as babies have no memory of the sacrament. However, Jesus’ baptism gives us time to think and reflect on what being baptized means. The song “Build My Life” is about following in the footsteps of Jesus, embracing his teachings and continuing his mission. When we do this, we join our brothers and sisters in creating a loving and peaceful world.

Key Lyrics: Open up my eyes in wonder / And show me who you are / And fill me with your heart / And lead me in love to those around me / And I will build my life upon your love it is a firm foundation / And I will put my trust in you alone and not retake it

Questions: What does your baptism mean to you? What is one way you live out your faith in Jesus? What do you appreciate about being a part of the worldwide community of Christians? In what ways do you participate in the Church? Why?

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Music and the Gospel: “Simplify,” Young The Giant

This week’s SPIRIT asks us what will happen if we unplug from the hustle and bustle of our daily lives and just slowed down. What will we see and hear without distractions vying for our attention?  The teens of St. Clement’s Church take this question to heart and embark on a pilgrimage along the Camino de Santiago. The pilgrimage connects the teens with the physical world around them and wakes up their spiritual consciousness. The song “Simplify” is about shedding the distractions of the modern world and opening our eyes to the people and world around us.

Key Lyrics: Stressing over this, stressing over that, we’re falling / Like the whole world is banging on the door calling / Are we gonna lose? Is it gonna last? / Worry about the future, worry about the past / Filter out the noise, focus on my voice and fall in / …Everything simplifies / All we need is nothing more / When everything simplifies / You and I need nothing more / Everything simplifies

Questions: When have you taken a faith journey or pilgrimage? What did you carry with you? What did you learn from it? In what ways did it help you simplify your life? Where do you see the face of God?

Music and the Gospel: “When We’re Together,” Idina Menzel & Kristen Bell

Christmas is a time of gift-giving, merry-making, family, and friends. It’s also a time frazzled nerves, fatigue, and stress. In all the rushing back and forth, it can be difficult to remember that Christmas is ultimately a time when we recognize all what we already have and the people in our life. We don’t have to rush around, trying to find the perfect gift and spending a ton of money just to show our appreciation. Instead, we can give our time and attention to the people around us. In the end, that is the most important present we can give to someone. The song “When We’re Together” is about family and friendship, and how just simply being with our loved ones makes every day a holiday.

Key Lines: Sure, it’s nice to open a gift that’s tied up with a perfect bow / But the great present of all was given to me long ago / It’s something I would never trade, it’s the family that we’ve made / ‘Cause when we’re together, I have everything on my list /
And when we’re together, I have all I wished / All around the Christmas tree, there’ll be dreams coming true / But when we’re together, then my favorite gift is you

Questions: What family Christmas traditions do you and your family have? What new tradition would you like to begin? What free or inexpensive Christmas traditions does your family participate in?  What are you most thankful for this holiday season?

Music and the Gospel: “Love Wins,” Carrie Underwood, 2nd Sunday of Advent

In 2006, a small, one-room schoolhouse was the center of a major tragedy. A lone gunman entered the school and killed five students, injured five more, and forever changed the lives of many others. Tragedies such as this happen too often. What is sometimes surprising are the number of voices that call out for compassion, empathy, and even forgiveness towards those who have hurt us, our family, and our community. Carrie Underwood’s song “Love Wins” is not just about reaching out to our friends, family, neighbors, but also those who are different from us and even those who have hurt us. We don’t know what another person is going through, but only by approaching each other in the spirit of love and forgiveness can we begin to heal our hearts and community.

Key Lyrics: I, I believe you and me are sisters and brothers / And I, I believe we’re made to be here for each other / And we’ll never fall if we walk hand in hand / Put a world that seems broken together again / Yeah I, I believe in the end love wins

Questions: What have you found difficult to forgive? Were you able to let go of the hurt or grudge? How? Are some actions unforgivable? What examples of forgiveness do you see around you? How have you been forgiven? 

Music and the Gospel: “Rescue,” Lauren Daigle, 1st Sunday of Advent

This week’s SPIRIT is about walking a mile in another person’s shoes. Every year, the students of St. Paul High School walk 26 miles to raise money for a local soup kitchen.  They walk through different communities and meet new people, wealthy and poor.  Their journey also gives the students time to reflect and change their perspectives on how the less fortunate exist in our communities or what the caravan of migrants walking to the U.S. border experience as they seek a better life.  Lauren Daigle’s song “Rescue” is about hearing someone’s call of need and answering them, whether it’s by listening, walking, or simply volunteering time and resources.

Key Lyrics: I hear you whisper underneath your breath / I hear your SOS, your SOS / I will send out an army to find you / In the middle of the darkest night / It’s true, I will rescue you / I will never stop marching to reach you / In the middle of the hardest fight / It’s true, I will rescue you
 
Questions: Who like those in the migrant caravan are on a journey in our world? How can you learn more about why migrants or immigrants are walking and help them? When have you taken a difficult journey? What did you learn from this experience? What can you do to help people rebuild their lives?

Music and the Gospel: “Cover the Earth,” Kari Jobe, ft. Cody Carnes

This week’s SPIRIT explores the message and values of Pope Francis. He believes in creating a compassionate and merciful world, one that embraces social justice initiatives regarding climate change and poverty. He is also listening to the voices of young people as they share their concerns for their communities and the world at large. The song “Cover The Earth” is about embracing a similar message, breaking down walls, and letting the Spirit rise up and move us toward into a more inclusive and caring world.

Key Lyrics: Let the Spirit rise up, let it break through the walls / And beat down the doors, and crash through the windows / And cover the earth, the earth, the earth, the earth / Let the Spirit rise up, let it break through the walls / And beat down the doors, and crash through the windows / And cover the earth, the earth, the earth, the earth

Questions: What values does Pope Francis represent? How are his values like yours? Where do you see Jesus’ values at work in our world? How do you imagine the kingdom of God? What would you like to take part in building to make our world better?