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?

Music and the Gospel: “In The Name Of Love,” Martin Garrix and Bebe Rexha

It isn’t easy to see the poverty in our own backyards if we are not living in it. People living without what they need don’t want us to see what is happening. Most of us want to help if we do see others, especially young people our own age, in tough situations. We serve God when we serve our neighbors. Some people have the means to donate money; other people donate time and talents. This week’s SPIRIT explores service and ways to put our faith into action. The song “In The Name Of Love” is a powerful song about what it means to be called to a higher purpose or cause. It’s also a challenge to move us into action.

Key Lines: I wanna testify / Scream in the holy light / You bring me back to life / And it ’s all in the name of love

Questions: Where do you see people living in poverty in your community? What are some ways you can serve in your local community? When have you felt called to a higher purpose?

Music and the Gospel: “The Greatest,” Sia

In SPIRIT this week discusses ways the Holy Spirit moves in us. Sometimes we can connect during quiet contemplation. Other times we can connect by risking a new friendship or by pushing ourselves to rise above a challenge and reach the finish line. Sia’s song “The Greatest” is all about connecting with a force greater than oneself, pushing and staying motivated against all obstacles, and embracing life.

Key Lyrics: Hey, I am the truth / Hey, I am the wisdom of the fallen – I’m the youth / Hey, I am the greatest / Hey, this is the proof / Hey, I work hard, pray hard, pay dues, hey / I transform with pressure, I’m hands-on with effort / I fell twice before my bounce back was special / Let downs will get you, and the critics will test you / But the strong will survive, another scar may bless you, ah

Questions: When have you pushed yourself beyond old limits to new ones? When have you experienced being part of something greater than yourself?

Music and the Gospel: “Holy Ground,” Banners, Epiphany

People have made pilgrimages for centuries to sacred places. When we shed the walls of our daily life and take only what we can carry, we take away distractions and open ourselves up to God’s presence all around us in Earth, in one another, within ourselves. We can reflect what faith means to us and share our faith with those who pilgrimage with us. The song “Holy Ground” is about recognizing the beauty that surrounds us and connects us to other people and the world.

Key Lines: And we’re standing on holy ground / So heart don’t fail me now / And even if the walls were falling down / It will always be us, be us / This is holy ground

Questions: Disconnect from your smartphones and email for an hour, take a walk or talk to someone. What do you notice now that you have unplugged? In whom or what do you see the face of God?