“Whoever among you wants to be first must serve the needs of all. The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve.” This week’s SPIRIT focuses on service and the ways we can use our gifts to serve people who need our skills or help put food on the shelves for hungry people or organize a sleep out to raise money to shelter homeless people. Hearing Jesus’ call to serve means finding ways to share our resources and sustain our neighbors and community. TobyMac’s song, “It Starts With Me” reminds us that a movement to help others can start from one small spark, one person.
Key lines: Cause we can be free, yeah I know that / Let’s try to fix the things that’s been broke down / ‘Cause we can be free, yeah I know that / And it starts with me / This language that I speak / This dream on you and me / But one choice from together / It starts with me
Questions: What service to others would like to do or start in your community or school? What has past experience working on a service project taught you or how has it changed your perspective? How do you define “greatness?” How does Jesus define “greatness?” What kind of community do you want for yourself and the world?
Jesus calls forth their best selves in his disciples and sends his friends forth to spread the good news of his resurrection. Thomas touches the risen Jesus’ wounds and believes. SPIRIT extends the call that echoes down the centuries to continue Jesus’ mission, to go forth, and help our neighbors during times of need and crises. The song “We Got the Power” is an anthem about loving each other and working together towards a better future.
Key lines: We got the power to be loving each other / No matter what happens / We’ve got the power to do that / On a le pouvoir de s’aimer, okay? / We got the power to be ringing the great bell out there above us / We got the power for that / We got the power to do that
Questions: When have you experienced a community in crisis from tragedy or disasters? What did people need? What ways did you find to help people? When have you seen a community stand together? What initiatives would you like to start or volunteer for within your community?
Lent scripture readings include great moments in Israel’s history, this week the giving of the ten commandments. SPIRIT explores what the commandments ask of us in our relationship with God and with our families, friends, neighbors, and even people we dislike. The commandments expect us to respect all people because ALL are equal in the eyes of God. Poverty leaves some people, especially women, without basic needs for themselves or their children. In many cultures and countries, women have few rights, little education, and diminished access to opportunities. Alicia Keys’ song “Superwoman” is about empowerment, strength, and continuing to fight for a better life, one where all have rights and protections.
Key Lyrics: For all the mothers fighting / For better days to come / And all my women, all my women sitting here trying / To come home before the sun / And all my sisters / Coming together / Say yes I will / Yes I can / I am a Superwoman / Yes I am / Yes she is / Even when I’m a mess / I still put on a vest / With an S on my chest / Oh yes / I’m a Superwoman
Questions: What injustices do you experience or see in your school or neighborhood? In the world today? Who is working to right these injustices? How can you help? What commandments are especially important today? What new commandments do we need? How do you stand up for what you believe?
Jesus reveals who he is more fully Peter, James, and John in the transfiguration gospel this Sunday. The vision anticipating Jesus’ resurrection scares, confuses, and amazes the three disciples. Fear can cause us to hide our true selves from those around us. It can keep us from recognizing who someone else really is; it can prevent us from reaching out to others and affirming them. The song “Do Right” is about reaching out to others, letting them know that we see them, and doing right by the people around us.
Key lines: I miss the way my mama knew what to do / She said to do right by your neighbor / And they’ll do right by you / When we get older we can forget the truth / That if you do right by your neighbor / Then they’ll do right by you
Questions: What do you risk when you speak your truth? When have you opened up about something you’ve been scared to share? What does it mean to “do right” by your neighbor? What can you do to reach out to those in need? When has someone else affirmed you and made a transforming difference?
Heifer International is an organization that makes its mission to eradicate poverty and hunger in the world, a mission like Jesus’ own. It is featured in Spirit this week. Heifer educates people about the lives of people who need help with the basics to thrive. The learning center invites young people to experience a “day in the life” of families from different countries where poverty is more common. The song “Tapestry” is about taking stock of the world around us and opening our minds to people we don’t know, who live differently than we do, who get by with less. Real world situations open our eyes to people’s needs in ways that can become part of our tapestry. We can learn to approach social issues with compassion and work together on creative solutions that help raise people up.
Key lines: Have you felt a revolution? / Do you ever sit to stop and pause / Just to take a little moment / To see what’s mine and yours? / And all the things that I’ve seen / You will always be part of my tapestry / And all the places I’ve been / You will always be part of my tapestry
Questions: How hard is finding God in the world today? When have you experienced God? What in the natural world inspires you? Who in the human community inspires you? Who helps you step beyond yourself in your concerns?
“Love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus teaches us the way to love God is to love one another. It doesn’t matter who we love, what religion we adhere to, what color our skin is, where we are on the economic scale. What matters the most is that we treat each other with respect, fairness, and kindness. The song “Here For You” is a promise to always stand by each other in the face of ignorance. We owe it to ourselves and our neighbors to be there for each other. In doing this, we create a safe community for all.
Key lines: When you feel you’ve had enough, and you wasted all your love / I’ll be here for you, here for you / When the dog is at his bone, and you run away from home / I’ll be here for you, here for you / Well I’m here for you, I’m here for you, you, you
Questions: What types of disrespect do you see in your school, community, country? What do you think can be done to challenge people who like to exclude others? When have you showed mercy to someone who wronged you? When has someone shown you mercy?
Not all the people in our communities and nation have the same access to education, healthcare, and justice. This week’s SPIRIT spotlights Appalachia and the effects of mountaintop mining. The song “Sea Change” asks us why are we closing our eyes to the plight of people in our midst who are poor when we are all in this world together.
Key lines: So where will we go when the waters threaten to wash us away? / And all of our sons and our daughters wilt in the heat of the day? / I feel the sun draw nearer, I feel the sea start to rise / Who’s looking back in the mirror? Why are they closing —Why are they closing their eyes? / …Why are we closing our eyes?
Questions: When have you closed your eyes to a problem in your community or school? When have you opened your eyes to a problem? What did you learn or do about it? What duties does government have for the people it serves? How do you balance serving God and following the laws of our country? What issues make you struggle to answer?