Music and the Gospel: “Arms Open,” The Script, 4th Sunday of Advent

We sometimes feel God’s presence in our life in surprising ways. Sometimes we can find God by taking a simple walk and connecting with the world around us. Other times, God’s presence arises in times of personal pain and darkness, times when we wonder “why me?” This week’s SPIRIT makes us aware that taking a risk (like Mary) and setting off on a journey can bring us closer to who we are meant to be. The song “Arms Open” reminds us that through all our questions, fears, and pains, God is always by our side.

Key lines: I can’t uncry your tears / I can’t rewind the time / I can’t unsay what’s said / In your crazy life / My love, my arms are open / Oh, and when you’re cursing at the sky / And thinking, “Lord, you must be joking” / My arms are open / And, and when you’re looking in the mirror / Thinking that, “my life is over” / My arms are open

Questions: When have you felt challenged in your faith? What sustained you? What did your journey teach you? Like Mary, what risks do you take to participate in God’s vision for peace on earth and good will to all?

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Our Lady of Guadalupe

Today is the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Celebrate by sharing the prayer below. Click here for Our Lady’s story with friends and family. The art and prayer on this page are by Sister Ansgar Holmberg. The story appeared first in Good News, one of the Pflaum Gospel Weeklies. Happy feast day!

Our Mother Who Art

You are the mother
of the dark and the light
the rich and the poor
the humble and proud.

You are the mother
of the young and the old
the strong and the weak
of those who rejoice
of those who weep.

You are the mother
of woman and man
of small and of great
of broken and whole.
You are the mother who art.

Music and the Gospel: “Alaska,” 1st Sunday of Advent

This week’s Spirit is about waking up to what is happening in the world around us. It is easy to put off unpleasant issues and can be challenging to convince others of a problem we see. Maggie Rogers’ song “Alaska” is about taking a challenging path alone, sometimes without the people we love, and moving forward with our eyes wide open.

Key lines: I was walking through icy streams / That took my breath away / Moving slowly through westward water / Over glacial plains / And I walked off you / And I walked off an old me / Oh me oh my I thought it was a dream / So it seemed / And now, breathe deep

Questions: What issues or problems do you recognize in your school or community? What woke you up to the issue? How did the problem touch you? When have you been asleep to a situation or issue that mattered to others? How can you help people around you wake up to issues important to you?

Music and the Gospel: “Open Hands,” Urban Rescue, Easter Sunday

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 a longer way 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 “Open Hands” is about opening ourselves up to the possibilities that come with faith and embracing a wider community that encourages and sustains us.

Key Lines: I’m placing all my trust / Into a higher love / You’re dreaming bigger dreams / You have a plan for me / And though I cannot see / Here I am with open hands

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: “Love Is Alive,” Louis The Child, Palm/Passion Sunday

As we move through Holy Week, we reflect on Jesus’ ministry and his last days. We reflect on his message of love, compassion, and forgiveness. The song “Love Is Alive” is a reflection on love, how it sustains us and gives us something to strive for. When we embrace Jesus’ call to love wholeheartedly, we become his witnesses to others, living beacons of hope.

Key Lines: Love is alive when you don’t have to prove it /Unafraid, there’s no way to lose it / Oh I just wanna go where love is alive / So I’m gonna do that / All of the chaos surrenders / Changing the currents and tide / The water can keep getting deeper / Cause I’ll be right here staying dry

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: “This Must Be The Place,” Kishi Bashi, 5th Sunday of Lent

Jesus is with Mary, Martha, and Lazarus in Sunday’s gospel, three friends he loves. Spirit explores where and how we make our homes, friends, and families. Some people consider the people they live with as their only family; others create families by befriending others, caring about them, and keeping in touch. Cameron Perra met kids who quickly became family when he accompanied his dad who did medical work at an orphanage in Honduras. When we open ourselves up to people around us, we open ourselves up to new experiences, perspectives, and love.

Key Lines: Home is where I want to be / But I guess I’m already there / I come home, she lifted up her wings / Guess that this must be the place

Questions: What does home mean to you? Where are you most at home? How do you define what it means to be a family? Who belongs to your family?