Music and the Gospel: “Secrets,” Mary Lambert; 3rd Sunday of Easter

In “Secrets” Mary Lambert shares some of her own secrets and lists some that our society often encourages us to keep hidden within ourselves. When we are able to love ourselves as God does, fully and without hesitation, we are able to share our full selves with others. Our hearts are open to love all of God’s creation from the smallest microbe to the largest whale. When we embrace who we are, we may find that others are quick to follow in that embrace.

Key Lyrics: They tell us from the time we’re young / To hind the things that we don’t like about ourselves / Inside ourselves / I know I’m not the only one who spent so long attempting to be someone else / Well I’m over it

Questions: Who is a compass for you? What motivates you to act for justice? How have you developed these values? What is an example of following your heart or a cause you are fired up about? How does Jesus show us he is still alive today?

Music and the Gospel: “Bright,” Echosmith; Easter Sunday

Throughout our lives we have moments of feeling distant from God and times of feeling God’s embrace in fullness. When I feel connected to God, I see God’s wonder and beauty all around me and within me. I see the flowers. I appreciate the gifts of my day. Even waiting in traffic is more bearable. I feel “Bright” as Echosmith explains in this song. It’s a great Easter song. After his resurrection, we see Jesus in a new light.

Key Lyrics: ‘Cause now I’m shining bright, so bright / Bright, so bright / And I see colors in a different way / You make what doesn’t matter fade to grey / Life is good and that’s the way it should be

Questions: Call to mind a moment when you felt “Bright.” Tell a friend about this memory. When do you feel connected to God? What disconnects you? What helps you stay connected?

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?