Music and the Gospel: “Closer To Your Heart,” Kari Jobe

Jesus tells us “…Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you and pray for those who insult you.” Jesus values compassion towards all, from our family and friends, to those we consider enemies, to those we know nothing about at all. In the case of people who hurt us, this can be a difficult challenge. Keep in mind that we don’t always know why people behave the way they do. Kari Jobe’s song “Closer to Your Heart” is about embracing an attitude of compassion. When we do this, we live more like Jesus did and can create positive change in our schools and communities.
 
Key Lyrics: I get lost inside this wonder / Cause there’s so much to discover /New dimensions of your glory / And I’ve only seen a glimpse / You keep drawing me, you keep drawing me / Closer to your heart / You keep calling me, you keep calling me / Closer to your heart

Questions: When have you experienced an unexpected act of compassion? When have you extended compassion to someone else? What did you see that made you extend a hand to them? How can you spread an attitude of compassion around your school and community? What kind of communities will Jesus’ teaching create? What is a way you practice loving your enemies?

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Music and the Gospel: “Better Than Today,” Rhys Lewis

This week’s SPIRIT tells us the story of Father Tolton, the first African-American priest, whose dedicated ministry wore him out too young. Racism and white privilege persist—Jim Crow laws, current incarceration levels, the death of too many young African Americans. Black Lives Matter. Accepting all who are different from us challenges us every day. Father Tolton gives an inspiring example of persevering against ignorance to serve Black Catholic parishes. The song “Better Than Today” is reminds us all of the strength we have inside of us and create positive change within our community and the people around us.

Key Lyrics: I don’t read the headlines / And I don’t watch the news / ‘Cause silence faith in something every time I do / Well I don’t need to bury / My head in the sand / But I’m just tryna live this life as best as I can / Times get tough / But I don’t give up / ‘Cause I know I’m not alone

Questions: When have you experienced prejudice? How did it make you feel? What did the experience teach you? When have you recognized prejudice in yourself? Who in your school or city have you seen disrespected? How did you handle it? What are some ways you can combat prejudice in your school or city?

Music and the Gospel: “Swan Song,” Dua Lipa

Food in the fridge, money in our bank accounts, security of a home, and the loving protection of our family and friends—these easily make us forget that not everyone has stable home and family environments, education, or financial resources. Jesus aims to free people from poverty and reach out to all his mission. We can begin with respect for all, interest in who each person is, and expanding our circles of friends. “Swan Song” is about holding on to hope, even in the bleakest of moments, and breaking free from all that holds us back from reaching our fullest potential.

Key Lyrics: I, I can’t lie / I’m scared to open my eyes / ‘Cause what if I find nothing at all? / Nothing at all / What is the point of my lips / If they don’t make noise? Oh / What is the point of doing nothing at all? / Watching it fall / ….This is not a, this is not a / Swan, swan song / We just gotta, we just gotta hold on tonight / This is not a, this is not a / Swan song, swan song / Swan dive (Yeah) / It’s a new life



Questions: When you look around your school and community, what communities do you see lacking necessities, such as food, clothing, shelter? Who can you greet and show you know them? What community projects can you get involved in or start to help encourage those who need a helping hand?

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?

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: “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?