Music and the Gospel: “Open Hands,” Urban Rescue, Easter Sunday

Easter is where Christian faith begins. It celebrates Jesus’ resurrection. The Church often baptizes new believers at Easter time. Spirit is about a young woman who wakes up to what she believes at a baptism. For some people, believing is as natural as breathing; others journey a longer way through doubting and questioning. They may find people in their lives whose faith opens their hearts and minds to the teachings of Jesus. The song “Open Hands” is about opening ourselves up to the possibilities that come with faith and embracing a wider community that encourages and sustains us.

Key Lines: I’m placing all my trust / Into a higher love / You’re dreaming bigger dreams / You have a plan for me / And though I cannot see / Here I am with open hands

Questions: Where are you on your faith journey? How do you describe yourself as a believer? How do examples of faith in other people inspire you? Who has influenced your believing? What baptisms have you witnessed? What does baptism mean to you?

Music and the Gospel: “The Garden,” Kari Jobe

In the day-to-day shuffle, we cyberbeings often forget to unplug and recognize the beauty in the world around us. Sometimes that beauty takes a little work to uncover, whether it’s cleaning up a road ditch or a deserted piece of land. This week’s Spirit reminds us that we live in communion with Earth and that we are responsible for taking care of our common home. Kari Jobe’s song “The Garden” reiterates this message by reminding us that hope exists all around us, in all we make and grow.

Key Lines: Faith is rising up like ivy / Reaching for the light / Hope is stirring deep inside me / Making all things right… / Now I see redemption / Growing in the trees / The death and resurrection / In every single seed…

Questions: What can Earth teach you? How do we affect Earth? What concerns you most about the world we live in? What initiatives can you start in your school and community to make the world a better place?

Music and the Gospel: “The Greatest,” Sia

In SPIRIT this week discusses ways the Holy Spirit moves in us. Sometimes we can connect during quiet contemplation. Other times we can connect by risking a new friendship or by pushing ourselves to rise above a challenge and reach the finish line. Sia’s song “The Greatest” is all about connecting with a force greater than oneself, pushing and staying motivated against all obstacles, and embracing life.

Key Lyrics: Hey, I am the truth / Hey, I am the wisdom of the fallen – I’m the youth / Hey, I am the greatest / Hey, this is the proof / Hey, I work hard, pray hard, pay dues, hey / I transform with pressure, I’m hands-on with effort / I fell twice before my bounce back was special / Let downs will get you, and the critics will test you / But the strong will survive, another scar may bless you, ah

Questions: When have you pushed yourself beyond old limits to new ones? When have you experienced being part of something greater than yourself?

Music and the Gospel: “Holy Ground,” Banners, Epiphany

People have made pilgrimages for centuries to sacred places. When we shed the walls of our daily life and take only what we can carry, we take away distractions and open ourselves up to God’s presence all around us in Earth, in one another, within ourselves. We can reflect what faith means to us and share our faith with those who pilgrimage with us. The song “Holy Ground” is about recognizing the beauty that surrounds us and connects us to other people and the world.

Key Lines: And we’re standing on holy ground / So heart don’t fail me now / And even if the walls were falling down / It will always be us, be us / This is holy ground

Questions: Disconnect from your smartphones and email for an hour, take a walk or talk to someone. What do you notice now that you have unplugged? In whom or what do you see the face of God?

Music and the Gospel: “Unsteady,” X Ambassadors, 32nd Sunday Ordinary Time

People react to grief 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 “Unsteady” is an expression of this shake up, what we feel when solid ground starts to shift underneath us, and the loneliness that can accompany grief and loss.

Key Lyrics: Hold, hold on, hold onto me / ‘Cause I’m a little unsteady / A little unsteady

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?