Food in the fridge, money in our bank accounts, security of a home, and the loving protection of our family and friends—these easily make us forget that not everyone has stable home and family environments, education, or financial resources. Jesus aims to free people from poverty and reach out to all his mission. We can begin with respect for all, interest in who each person is, and expanding our circles of friends. “Swan Song” is about holding on to hope, even in the bleakest of moments, and breaking free from all that holds us back from reaching our fullest potential.
Key Lyrics: I, I can’t lie / I’m scared to open my eyes / ‘Cause what if I find nothing at all? / Nothing at all / What is the point of my lips / If they don’t make noise? Oh / What is the point of doing nothing at all? / Watching it fall / ….This is not a, this is not a / Swan, swan song / We just gotta, we just gotta hold on tonight / This is not a, this is not a / Swan song, swan song / Swan dive (Yeah) / It’s a new life
Questions: When you look around your school and community, what communities do you see lacking necessities, such as food, clothing, shelter? Who can you greet and show you know them? What community projects can you get involved in or start to help encourage those who need a helping hand?
Currently, immigration dominates our news headlines and politics. Poverty, violence, war, displacement, no work—all can force people to move. These conditions separate many refugees and immigrants from families and friends for long periods of time. They have to navigate cultures, laws, and languages that they don’t know. They start anew in the hope of achieving a better future for themselves and their families. The song “You Belong” reminds us that everyone belongs and deserves the chance to thrive.
Key Lyrics: You belong / The whole world is waiting / No one else can sing your song / You belong / The lie that’s been chasing you / Love’s gonna prove it wrong / Open your eyes / Breathe in the light / You don’t have to hide / You belong
Questions: Visit un.org to learn more about why people may be forced to immigrate. How can you reach out to new students or neighbors different from you? Whose voices in your school or community are others not hearing? When do you listen to the voices of people who appear different from you?
Relationships with others become more complex as we mature. Some friendships end, some deepen. We develop crushes, pair up, break up, figure out how to make relationships work. This week’s SPIRIT discusses what it means to have healthy, strong relationships and, eventually, marriage. The song “Love Someone” is about what it means to open your heart and love.
Key Lyrics: ‘Cause you still look perfect as days go by / Even the worst ones, you make me smile / I’d stop the world if it gave us time / ‘Cause when you love someone / You open up your heart / When you love someone / You may grow / If you love someone
Questions: What does being in a relationship mean to you? What qualities are important in a relationship? What makes for a healthy relationship? What warns you a relationship isn’t healthy? What does “love” mean to you?
Those of us baptized as babies have no memory of the sacrament. However, Jesus’ baptism gives us time to think and reflect on what being baptized means. The song “Build My Life” is about following in the footsteps of Jesus, embracing his teachings and continuing his mission. When we do this, we join our brothers and sisters in creating a loving and peaceful world.
Key Lyrics: Open up my eyes in wonder / And show me who you are / And fill me with your heart / And lead me in love to those around me / And I will build my life upon your love it is a firm foundation / And I will put my trust in you alone and not retake it
Questions: What does your baptism mean to you? What is one way you live out your faith in Jesus? What do you appreciate about being a part of the worldwide community of Christians? In what ways do you participate in the Church? Why?
This week’s SPIRIT asks us what will happen if we unplug from the hustle and bustle of our daily lives and just slowed down. What will we see and hear without distractions vying for our attention? The teens of St. Clement’s Church take this question to heart and embark on a pilgrimage along the Camino de Santiago. The pilgrimage connects the teens with the physical world around them and wakes up their spiritual consciousness. The song “Simplify” is about shedding the distractions of the modern world and opening our eyes to the people and world around us.
Key Lyrics: Stressing over this, stressing over that, we’re falling / Like the whole world is banging on the door calling / Are we gonna lose? Is it gonna last? / Worry about the future, worry about the past / Filter out the noise, focus on my voice and fall in / …Everything simplifies / All we need is nothing more / When everything simplifies / You and I need nothing more / Everything simplifies
Questions: When have you taken a faith journey or pilgrimage? What did you carry with you? What did you learn from it? In what ways did it help you simplify your life? Where do you see the face of God?
Christmas is a time of gift-giving, merry-making, family, and friends. It’s also a time frazzled nerves, fatigue, and stress. In all the rushing back and forth, it can be difficult to remember that Christmas is ultimately a time when we recognize all what we already have and the people in our life. We don’t have to rush around, trying to find the perfect gift and spending a ton of money just to show our appreciation. Instead, we can give our time and attention to the people around us. In the end, that is the most important present we can give to someone. The song “When We’re Together” is about family and friendship, and how just simply being with our loved ones makes every day a holiday.
Key Lines: Sure, it’s nice to open a gift that’s tied up with a perfect bow / But the great present of all was given to me long ago / It’s something I would never trade, it’s the family that we’ve made / ‘Cause when we’re together, I have everything on my list /
And when we’re together, I have all I wished / All around the Christmas tree, there’ll be dreams coming true / But when we’re together, then my favorite gift is you
Questions: What family Christmas traditions do you and your family have? What new tradition would you like to begin? What free or inexpensive Christmas traditions does your family participate in? What are you most thankful for this holiday season?
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?