In 2006, a small, one-room schoolhouse was the center of a major tragedy. A lone gunman entered the school and killed five students, injured five more, and forever changed the lives of many others. Tragedies such as this happen too often. What is sometimes surprising are the number of voices that call out for compassion, empathy, and even forgiveness towards those who have hurt us, our family, and our community. Carrie Underwood’s song “Love Wins” is not just about reaching out to our friends, family, neighbors, but also those who are different from us and even those who have hurt us. We don’t know what another person is going through, but only by approaching each other in the spirit of love and forgiveness can we begin to heal our hearts and community.
Key Lyrics: I, I believe you and me are sisters and brothers / And I, I believe we’re made to be here for each other / And we’ll never fall if we walk hand in hand / Put a world that seems broken together again / Yeah I, I believe in the end love wins
Questions: What have you found difficult to forgive? Were you able to let go of the hurt or grudge? How? Are some actions unforgivable? What examples of forgiveness do you see around you? How have you been forgiven?
This week’s SPIRIT is about walking a mile in another person’s shoes. Every year, the students of St. Paul High School walk 26 miles to raise money for a local soup kitchen. They walk through different communities and meet new people, wealthy and poor. Their journey also gives the students time to reflect and change their perspectives on how the less fortunate exist in our communities or what the caravan of migrants walking to the U.S. border experience as they seek a better life. Lauren Daigle’s song “Rescue” is about hearing someone’s call of need and answering them, whether it’s by listening, walking, or simply volunteering time and resources.
Key Lyrics: I hear you whisper underneath your breath / I hear your SOS, your SOS / I will send out an army to find you / In the middle of the darkest night / It’s true, I will rescue you / I will never stop marching to reach you / In the middle of the hardest fight / It’s true, I will rescue you
Questions: Who like those in the migrant caravan are on a journey in our world? How can you learn more about why migrants or immigrants are walking and help them? When have you taken a difficult journey? What did you learn from this experience? What can you do to help people rebuild their lives?
This week’s SPIRIT explores the message and values of Pope Francis. He believes in creating a compassionate and merciful world, one that embraces social justice initiatives regarding climate change and poverty. He is also listening to the voices of young people as they share their concerns for their communities and the world at large. The song “Cover The Earth” is about embracing a similar message, breaking down walls, and letting the Spirit rise up and move us toward into a more inclusive and caring world.
Key Lyrics: Let the Spirit rise up, let it break through the walls / And beat down the doors, and crash through the windows / And cover the earth, the earth, the earth, the earth / Let the Spirit rise up, let it break through the walls / And beat down the doors, and crash through the windows / And cover the earth, the earth, the earth, the earth
Questions: What values does Pope Francis represent? How are his values like yours? Where do you see Jesus’ values at work in our world? How do you imagine the kingdom of God? What would you like to take part in building to make our world better?
Most of us use social media to express ourselves, keep up with family and friends, and see what’s going on in the wider world. However, some people use social media to spread ideas and opinions that are hurtful to others. A comment that starts off as a joke can be picked up and taken out of context, becoming hurtful to others and reflecting badly on ourselves. The song “Growing Pains” is about learning from our mistakes and moving forward with understanding and compassion.
Key lines: Try to mend what’s left of my content incomprehension / As I take on the stress of the mess that I’ve made / Don’t know if I even care for “grown” / If it’s just alone / And I guess the bad can get better / Gotta be wrong before it’s right / Every happy phrase engraved in my mind / I’ve always been a go-getter / There’s truth in every word I write / But still the growing pains, growing pains / They’re keeping me up at night
Questions: What, if any, difference is there between teasing and bullying? How do you draw the line between the two? Is there a line? When have you inadvertently stepped over the line? How did you make something hurtful right? How do teasing and bullying words impact you or people you know?
Spirit explores friendship this week. What makes a good friend? In their teens human being develop the brain power to see ourselves the ways others see us, making high school a time to try out who we want to be, to develop new interests, and to take on responsibilities. Our friendships can be fluid. Friends from last year may keep a distance this year. Someone we get to know better shows us what true friendship is: kind, forgiving, and supportive. Jess Glynne’s song “I’ll Be There” is about being there for one another, whether it’s to save someone a seat at the table or to help a friend through a difficult time.
Key lines: When all the tears are rolling down your face / And it feels like yours was the only heart to break / When you come back home and all the lights are out, ooh / And you’re getting used to no one else being around / Oh, oh, I’ll be there / When you need a little love, I got a little love to share / Yeah, I’m gonna, I’m gonna, I’m gonna come through / You’ll never be alone, I’ll be there for you
Questions: What does it mean to be popular in your school? When has this influenced your behavior and how you treat others? What does being a good friend mean to you? Who has been a good friend in your life? How is God a friend to you?
In Sunday’s gospel Jesus identifies the two greatest commandments–to love God with all our hearts and minds and our neighbor as ourselves. All of us, regardless of circumstances, can live these basic commandments rather than stereotype, judge, and disrespect others. We have the capabilities to brighten someone’s day, help people, spread joy, and learn from those different from us. The song “Love Song” is a reminder to love every day.
Lyrics: You are good to me / Still even better than I think / You are strong for me / For every time that I can’t be / I love You / It’s simple to say / But I love You / More every day / You see my heart and You know that it’s true / I love You / I love You, yes, I do / Yes, I do
Questions: How do labels affect how you see people around you? How does the fear of being labelled prevent you from being your true self? How can you help change the negative implications that labels can impose on others?
A blind beggar shouts out his faith Jesus can give him sight. This week’s SPIRIT explores a football player handles a bullet putting him in a wheelchair. Hard things at school, at work, or at home can put most of us in a funk of hopelessness but not Bobbie Brown, who finds new ways to move forward, take part, and inspire others. Andra Day’s song “Rise Up” is about recognizing that we are all brothers and sisters, and that we are all in this world together. Rising up can be as simple as forgiving someone who has hurt us, keeping faith when we wonder why life is so hard, or pushing for positive change when we notice injustice.
Lyrics: And I’ll rise up / I’ll rise like the day / I’ll rise up / I’ll rise unafraid / I’ll rise up / And I’ll do it a thousand times again / And I’ll rise up / High like the waves / I’ll rise up / In spite of the ache / I’ll rise up / And I’ll do it a thousand times again / For you
Questions: Think about a time when you experienced a challenging/traumatic event. What feelings did this event evoke? How did faith help you contend with what happened and find resilience in this difficult time? What are some ways you can share your experience and spread what you learned?