Music and the Gospel: “Photograph,” Ed Sheeran

Relationships can be hard, especially in high school.  This week’s issue focuses on relationships, how they can affect us, change us, and what can happen when they don’t work out.

Key lines: Loving can hurt / Loving can hurt sometimes / But it’s the only thing that I know / When it gets hard / You know it can get hard sometimes / It is the only thing that makes us feel alive

Questions: Think about a time when you really liked someone.  How did that make you feel?  Now think about a time you were hurt by someone you cared about.  What did you learn from that experience?  How did you deal with the situation?  How has it affected your relationships with other people or changed your perspective on future relationships?

Music and the Gospel: “Compass” and the 3rd Sunday of Easter

When the risen Jesus appears to his friends on the road, they don’t recognize him immediately. However, they say their “hearts were on fire” when they talked with him and recognized him when they shared a meal. Similarly, when we feel moved to act out of compassion or justice, or we know in our hearts what choice we should make, Jesus is present with us—even if we don’t recognize it.

Key Lines: You wanna give up ‘cause it’s dark / We’re really not that far apart / So let your heart, sweet heart / Be your compass when you’re lost / And you should follow it wherever it may go

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: “Ordinary Love” and Easter

Both Mary Magdalene and Thomas the apostle are sure that Jesus’ death means the end of their relationship with him. When Jesus appears to each of them, they learn that even the end of life on earth cannot separate them from the love of Jesus. In our lives, too, we often struggle to recognize that Jesus still lives and his love is always with us.

Key Lines: ‘Cause we can’t fall any further if we can’t feel ordinary love / And we cannot reach any higher, if we can’t deal with ordinary love / Are we tough enough for ordinary love?

Questions: What is ordinary about Jesus’ love for us? What is extraordinary? How is Jesus’ death and resurrection a sign of his love for us? Where do you see God present in our world? What keeps us from seeing God’s love? When is love a challenge? What makes faith difficult?

Music and the Gospel: Palm Sunday and “Pompeii” by Bastille

When we remember the passion of Jesus, we also remember the struggles and suffering that many in our communities face every day. This is a day to learn more about their needs, pray for them, and find ways to help. Like the story of Jesus’ passion, the song “Pompeii” reminds us of the need to strip away what keeps us separated from each other.

Key Lines: We were caught up and lost in all of our vices / In your pose as the dust settled around us / And the walls kept tumbling down/ In the city that we love / Grey clouds roll over the hills / Bringing darkness from above

Questions: What can distract us from following Jesus? What ideas or habits need to be torn down? What do you think Jesus’ death meant for his first followers? Where do we see the suffering of Jesus in our communities? In what ways can we respond to that suffering?

Current Music and the Gospel, “Oceans,” Hillsong UNITED

Jesus puts his own life on the line when he calls Lazarus out of his tomb and back to life. Following Jesus can also lead us to surprising places. The song “Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)” reminds us that our faith can lead us places we never expected.

Key Lines: You call me out upon the waters / The great unknown where feet may fail / And there I find You in the mystery / In oceans deep / My faith will stand

Questions: In what mysterious or surprising ways have you experienced God’s presence? How do you feel called to serve others? What are you doing to respond to that call? What makes it difficult to do?

Current Music & The Gospel: “Break the Walls,” Fitz & The Tantrums

Just as Jesus makes a blind man see in Sunday’s gospel, Lent can be a time when we wash away things that are distracting us or holding us back. “Break the Walls” is about breaking through those challenges to become who we want to be.

Key Lines: Give me a sledgehammer and give me strength / Watch the world come crumbling down / Cut me loose I seek the truth / I bet the freedom, the freedom will carry me

Questions: What can stand in the way of our desire to follow Jesus? When is it challenging to speak the truth? What gives you strength to speak your truth? How can telling the truth be a freeing experience? What do you want to let go of at the end of Lent?