Jesus’ encounters ten lepers in Sunday’s gospel. Lepers experienced people shunning them. The lepers in the gospel call to Jesus, ask him for compassion, and Jesus grants it. The voices in “Beautiful People” feel second class to those with more money and things. The need for superficial things can blind some people to the beauty and potential that exist in in every person. Showing compassion is one way to get to know and understand people, and rise above our own misjudgments. Ed Sheeran’s song “Beautiful People” is about seeing things and people for who and what they really are.
Key lines: We don’t fit in well / ‘Cause we are just ourselves / I could use some help / Getting’ out of this conversation, yeah / You look stunning, dear / So don’t ask that question here / This is my only fear, that we become / Beautiful people
Questions: What were your initial thoughts when you first meet someone who looks or acts different from you? How did you approach him or her? What did you learn? What makes people fit in or not fit in your school?
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?
When The Shelters’ sing out about rebel hearts, they are describing the theme of this week’s Spirit. This theme is about caring for others, being a caregiver and showing compassion for those around you. Whether you care for an elderly person, a child, or someone with a disability, People have remarkable ways of living that can inspire us. Someone’s capacity for strength and resilience can teach us how to approach each day with optimism and laughter.
Key Lines: A star lights up the sky / Her heart is where her fire lies / You see it in her painted eyes / She’s got a rebel heart, on that she’s gonna find / She’s got a rebel heart, she’s up against them all
Questions: When have you had to act as a caregiver to someone else? What did you learn from the person? How can you spread acts of compassion this holiday season?
This Sunday’s gospel talks about Jesus’ encounter with ten lepers. They call to Jesus, ask him for compassion, and Jesus grants it. There is often more to a person than meets the eye. Sometimes a person doesn’t look or act “normal” by our standards, and we allow that to blind us to the beauty and potential that exist in that person. It is often by showing compassion that we get to know people, understand them, and rise above our own judgment to become better people.
Key Lyrics: We could be friends / Just put your head on my shoulders / I will straighten out, for you / Don’t wanna know if you made mistakes / I’m still waiting on your sunshine
Questions: What were your initial thoughts when you first meet someone who looks or acts different from you? How do you approach him or her? What did you learn from someone different from you? What makes people fit in or not fit in your school?
Sometimes in order to understand a situation or a person, we have to walk a mile in their shoes. In the case of the St. Paul high schoolers, they walk 26 miles every year to raise money for a local soup kitchen. Not only does this prove to be a physical journey but it also becomes a spiritual one. It changes their perspective as they walk through different neighborhoods and meet new people. They gain a little understanding of what it means to be homeless, how exhausting it can be. Their walk is worth the pain as they raise money to feed those who have no means. When we walk with those less fortunate, we are also walking with God.
Key Lyrics: Every high and every low you’re gonna go through / You don’t have to be afraid I am with you / In the moments you’re so weak you feel like stopping / Let the hope you have light the road you’re walking
Questions: Who like the Syrian refugees are on a journey in our world? How might you learn about them and help? What difficult journey have you taken that made all the sacrifice worth it? Who can you help this Advent that you see around you? How can you help them?