Music and the Gospel: “To The Ground,” Death Cab for Cutie

We all make choices, some safe and some risky. As the main character in this week’s SPIRIT story sits in the ditch in a car full of friends, she wonders if God kept her safe because rubbed the cross on her visor before they started out. Her friends point out that God is always with us, no matter what choices we make and in every circumstance. The song “To The Ground” tells how one decision can change everything and how choices have consequences. We can trust in God to stay with us no matter the consequences but not to prevent them.

Key lines: The arms lost control / Slipped and began to roll / And on the wings of an ocean gale / He crashed right through the rail / Down to the valley below / To the valley below / ….Return to the ground / To the ground

Questions: What choices have you made without seeing the consequences? When have you been lucky enough to escape consequences you didn’t see coming? When have you felt God’s presence in a tough time? How has faith helped you make decisions or get through a difficult time?

Music and the Gospel: “My Song Too,” Hunter Hayes

People react to grief or to breaking up in different ways. Some people distance themselves and internalize their grief. Others may express their grief and adapt quickly to their loss. The loss of a loved one can shake up any family and environment. The song “My Song Too” is a reminder that even when those we love are gone, they live on within us. They have helped make us who we are.

Key lines: But it’s my song too / I know you’re gone but every word’s still true / It’s alright if it’s all that’s left / ‘Cause you, you left me better than you found me / It’s crazy I still sing it but I do / It’s my song too / Oh there’s love in every lyric / You live in every note / Don’t hate me if I never let go / It’s my song too

Questions: When have you experienced loss? How did you handle the experience? How did the people around you handle it? What and who helped keep you steady during this time?

Music and the Gospel: “You Say,” Lauren Daigle

People influence us. Voices in our minds put us down. Voices around us judge us based on where we are from, how we speak, how we dress, even their skin color. These snap judgments can prevent us from being open and accepting and can create an environment of silence that can be even more hurtful than words spoken aloud. Lauren Daigle’s song “You Say” is about remembering who God says we are—that we are more than the judgments people make about us. We are valuable and worthy human beings who are more than our failures in our own and others’ eyes.

Key lines: I keep fighting voices in my mind that say I’m not enough / Every single lie that tells me I will never measure up / Am I more than just the sum of every high and every low / Remind me once again just who I am because I need to know / Ooh oh / You say I am loved when I can’t feel a thing / You say I am strong when I think I am weak / And you say I am held when I am falling short / And when I don’t belong, oh You say I am Yours / And I believe (I) / Oh I believe (I) / What You say of me (I) / I believe

Questions: When have you judged someone? When have you felt judged? How do you treat someone who creates distance from you? Who does God say you are? What helps you remember who God says you are? How can you help create bridges between different groups within your community?

Music and the Gospel: “Got It In You,” Banners

“All who make little of themselves will be lifted up, but all who make much of themselves will be brought down.” (Luke 18.14) It is difficult to work hard on achieving a goal or building a team only to find out we’ve been “benched.” “Got It In You” is about losing what we think is our rightful place but remembering that we still have it within ourselves to be part of a team and be supportive of those around us. Humility can open our eyes to who we really are and help us better serve our teams, communities, and people.

Key lines: Holding back the flood / In this skyscraper town / You give all that sweat and blood / Now you think you’re gonna drown / You can’t tell that you’re bigger / Than the sea that you’re sinking in / And you don’t know what you got / But you got it at your fingertips

Questions: When were you forced to sit on the sidelines? How did you feel about this? What did you learn from this experience? What does humility mean to you?

Music and the Gospel: “Girl,” Maren Morris

According to the United Nations, 1 in 5 children between the ages 6 through 17 are unable to attend school. The number of girls who attend school falls short in matching the number of boys. In South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa cultures expect girls to get married and start families at very young ages. Schools like the Kenya Girls Soccer Academy aim to help girls to finish their education, which will then allow them to get jobs that will hopefully raise them out of poverty. These schools also create a support system for the girls and encourage them to be more confident in themselves and their capabilities.

Maren Morris’ song “Girl” is a powerful anthem for self-empowerment. It reflects the strength it takes to break through barriers and help each other take on social injustices so that we can make the world a more equal and better place for all people.

Key Lyrics: What you feel is natural / But I don’t wanna feel this anymore / Pick yourself up off the kitchen floor / What you waitin’ for? / Girl, won’t you stop your cryin’? / I know that you’re tryin’/ Everything’s gonna be okay / Baby girl, don’t you hang your head low / Don’t you lose your halo / Everyone’s gonna be okay / Baby girl  

Questions: Who is a female role model in your life? In what ways is she strong? What has she had to overcome? Why is education important? How can you empower those around you?

Music and the Gospel: “Beautiful People,” by Ed Sheeran, ft. Khalid

Jesus’ encounters ten lepers in Sunday’s gospel. Lepers experienced people shunning them. The lepers in the gospel call to Jesus, ask him for compassion, and Jesus grants it. The voices in “Beautiful People” feel second class to those with more money and things. The need for superficial things can blind some people to the beauty and potential that exist in in every person. Showing compassion is one way to get to know and understand people, and rise above our own misjudgments. Ed Sheeran’s song “Beautiful People” is about seeing things and people for who and what they really are.

Key lines: We don’t fit in well / ‘Cause we are just ourselves / I could use some help / Getting’ out of this conversation, yeah / You look stunning, dear / So don’t ask that question here / This is my only fear, that we become / Beautiful people

Questions: What were your initial thoughts when you first meet someone who looks or acts different from you? How did you approach him or her? What did you learn? What makes people fit in or not fit in your school?

Music and the Gospel: “Sunday Best,” Surfaces

The gospel this Sunday asks us “What is faith?” Like a good song, faith can move us and connect us to the world and people around us. Faith in ourselves, our friends, teachers, and parents gives us strength to overcome difficult moments and climb mountains. Faith sets our hearts on who gives us life and why. Faith in God says yes to life and to all its diversity evolving in creation. “Sunday Best” is a song about embracing life and having faith that no matter what happens, we can get through anything.

Key Lyrics: Feeling good, like I should / Went and took a walk around the neighborhood / Feeling blessed, never stressed / Got that sunshine on my Sunday best / Everyday can be a better day despite the challenge / All you gotta do is leave it better than you found it

Questions: What does faith mean to you? Who do you believe in? When or how have you experienced God? On who is your heart set ultimately? How is your faith changing as you get older?