Music and the Gospel: “Calm Down,” Skip Marley

Some decisions stay with us and even define us for the rest of lives. Some choices seem so clear that we forget we made them. Serious choices demand time to weigh the pros and cons of our actions, the positive or negative ways the choices affect other people. Occasionally, someone (a friend, a parent) will insist that we don’t have a choice. But don’t we always have a choice? Skip Marley’s song “Calm down” is about taking a step back and thinking about whether a decision is worth getting worked up about.

Key Lyrics: I thought we figured out how not to spill blood / I thought we figured out to walk away / I thought we found that love was not a failure / Decided that the sea would have no waves / …..And we get worked up for nothing, yeah / I get worked up and they get worked up / And we get worked up for what? / …Calm down, oh, calm down

Questions: What decisions do you make on a daily basis? When have you felt pressure to choose to act in a way you didn’t want to do? How does stepping back and thinking about a choice help? What prejudices do you see in your school or community? How can you create a more welcoming environment?

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Music and the Gospel: “Remedy,” Adele, 4th Sunday of Lent

Throughout our lives we make many decisions.  Some are no-brainers.  Some difficult and scary, even painful and heartbreaking.  Spirit follows the inner workings of one young woman’s thought process as she weighs her options, her conscience, and the advice of those around her to make the best choice possible for all involved.  Adele’s song expresses the how one moment can change our lives forever.

Lyrics: I remember all the things that I thought I wanted to be / So desperate to find a way out of my world / And finally breathe / Right before my eyes I saw my heart come to life / This ain’t easy, it’s not meant to be/ Every story has its scars

Questions: Think back to a time when you had to make a difficult decision.  How did you feel?  How did you approach the choice?  What reasons did you have for going one way rather than another?  What resulted from your decision and what did you learn from the experience?

Music and the Gospel: “Hopeless Wanderer,” Mumford and Sons

God within us guides and inspires us, accompanies us in exciting times and difficult ones. This week, SPIRIT explores how a young woman, 16 and pregnant, makes a difficult decision about the baby with her boyfriend and family. In the gospel Jesus heals Peter’s mother-in-law, who begins to serve him as the first woman disciple. Both women feel the stirring of God within their hearts and put these feelings into action. When you feel the Holy Spirit burning within you, do you smother or fan the flames?

Key Lyrics:So when your hopes on fire / But you know your desire / Don’t hold a glass over the flame / Don’t let your heart grow cold / I will call you by name / I will share your road

Questions: Think of a time when you knew within your heart what decision to make, even if those around you didn’t feel the same as you. How did you recognize this feeling? What did you do to let that feeling move you to action? How can you help this flame within others grow and be put into action?

Music and the Gospel: “Brave,” Sara Bareilles

Choosing and doing what we know is right can be hard. We may be afraid that we will make others angry, that we will lose our popularity, or that we will lose our friends. We can trust though that God is always standing with us as we listen to the voice within guiding us to make the right decisions. With God beside us, we don’t have to be afraid to make courageous and loving decisions.

Key Lyrics: “Say what you wanna say / And let the words fall out / Honestly I wanna see you be brave.”

Questions: What examples of Jesus making courageous and loving choices do you remember? What fears might keep us from making the right choices, such as standing up for someone who is being bullied? When you face a hard choice, what do you do to feel brave?