This Sunday we are celebrating Halloween! We will share the story Shake Dem Halloween Bones! Then we can make Halloween crafts.
How do you celebrate Halloween? What are your favorite things about Halloween?
Today we celebrated “Dia de los Muertos” or “Day of the Dead” as it is celebrated in Mexico, by those of Mexican heritage in the U.S. as well as other Latin American peoples. In rural Mexico, people visit the cemetery where their loved ones are buried. They decorate gravesites with marigold flowers and candles. They bring toys for dead children and bottles of tequila to adults. They sit on picnic blankets next to gravesites and eat the favorite food of their loved ones.
Unitarian Universalists believe that death is a natural part of the cycle of life. Those who die live on in our memories. We too honor the memory of our dead relatives and friends. We feel connected to each other and to our ancestors when we take time to remember those who have died. We would like to acknowledge that death is a part of the cycle of life, just as do those who celebrated Dia de los Muertos.
Calavera Abecedario- A Day of the Dead Alphabet Book by Jeanette Winter. Harcourt: 2004. (ages 4-8). Every year Don Pedro and his family make papier-mache skeletons, or calaveras, for Mexico's Day of the Dead fiesta. From Angel and Doctor to Mariachi and Unicornio, each letter of the alphabet has its own special calavera.
The Spirit of Tio Fernando: A Day of the Dead Story by Janice Levi, et al. Whiteman and Co. 1995. As the Day of the Dead approaches, Nando and his mother make preparations to remember Tio Fernando. Nando's curiosity leads him to ask the adults around him how his uncle's spirit will find him when it returns: “…Will I see him? Will he make noise? How will I know it is really him?” That night, Nando discovers his uncle's spirit in a place he least expects, inside himself. Levy presents this story in both Spanish and English from the realistic viewpoint of a child experiencing the Day of the Dead celebration. She relates the customs of this traditional Mexican and Central American holiday.
Pablo Remembers by George Ancona. HarperCollins, 1993. (gr. 2-4) Using clear prose on attractively bordered pages and well-composed full-color photographs, the author describes the preparations for The Day of the Dead, a Hispanic holiday that extends from October 31st- November 2nd. Pablo Montano Ruiz, a boy of about 12 who lives near Oaxaca, goes shopping for candles, tomatoes, sugarcane, radishes, and calaveras de dulce (sugar skulls), all necessary ingredients for the special foods and elaborate ceremonies that are detailed.
Day of the Dead by Tony Johnson, Voyager, 2000. (ages 4-8). This colorful treatment of the Mexican celebration introduces its traditions in story form. As two children notice all the food being cooked, the flowers being gathered, and the special packages bought at the bakery, they long to taste, smell, and investigate. Although the book's small size makes it difficult to share with a large group, it will work one-on-one and with small groups.
Questers will be introduced to the concept of Spirituality this Sunday! We're discussing prayer, trying out chanting and then experiencing a walking meditation.
I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see.
— John Newton
DURING TODAY'S SESSION…
This Sunday we are Exploring Right and Wrong. We will hear the story “Adam and Eve,” from the Hebrew scripture. The we will make our own Garden of Eden from pipe cleaners and talk about how this story poses one explanation for how sin came into the world. We’ll play the game, Ethics Play, for the first time and use role-playing as a way to help decide what's right and wrong .
EXPLORE THE TOPIC TOGETHER: TALK ABOUT…
- The situation your group explored in Ethics Play. What do your family members and friends say the Star should do?
- Where did your family members first hear the story of the Garden of Eden? What do they think about what it has to say about the origins of sin?
EXTEND THE TOPIC TOGETHER: TRY…
- Watching a television show together and seeing what it tells you about right and wrong.
- Going through the family bookcases. Look at some stories everybody has read. What do they say about virtue? Are there any that have no sin in them at all?
MYSTERY AND ME
Welcome to Mystery and Me!
Everybody wonders about life's big questions, questions such as How did evil come into the world? Some people think the answers are clear because they are written in the bible or in some other source. Other people think that the answers remain hidden in mystery. We may never find perfect answers, but it is still important to search through the mystery, to understand as much about life as we possibly can. The Mystery and Me sections of Amazing Grace : Exploring Right and Wrong invite you do that exploring after every session.
One way to use Mystery and Me is to keep a journal on your thoughts in response to the question asked. The journal does not need to be fancy: it can be a notebook, a diary, or kept on your computer, or any other way you have of keeping notes for yourself. Writing helps some people think better. If you think it might be useful, try it. You do not need to bring your journal to our meetings or share it with anyone. Writing down thoughts does make them visible, however, so be careful of writing anything so personal that it could be embarrassing if someone else saw it.
Take some personal quiet time and think about the story.
- Why did God forbid the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge?
- Why do you think the serpent wanted Eve to eat the fruit?
- What temptations do you have to overcome in your life?
A FAMILY RITUAL
Find a time each day when you can talk about the right and wrong you have experienced. Maybe late afternoon or a mealtime will work. Did you each do something good you want to share? Is there something you wish you had not done that you need to talk about? How can you make tomorrow a better day?
A FAMILY GAME: VIRTUE SCAVENGER HUNT
Have each person in the family go around and put a marker somewhere to show a virtuous thing another family member has done. You might use colored sticky notes or paper for your markers. The individuals placing the markers can initial them. What will you find? Maybe it is a stack of clean dishes that somebody washed without being asked; maybe it is homework completed early. It might even be a flyer from an outside organization one of your family members belongs to that does good things.
Talk about a family rule and discover the reasons for it. Maybe it is the bedtime rule. Why that time? Why not fifteen minutes later? Why not earlier? Is there a good reason for the rule and does everybody agree with it? Should you talk about it more?
Coming of Age
Who are your friends? Who are the people travelling with you on your journey? This Sunday we’re discussing the value of friendship and examining our responsibilities to our friends. We’ll consider ways friendships help or hinder our spiritual journey. Questions we’ll consider include:
- Who are your traveling companions?
- Have the people who are traveling with you now been traveling with them a short time, or a long time?
- How do traveling companions help one another along the journey?
- How could those we meet on our way hurt our progress or keep us from moving forward?
- And how can we tell the difference between those people who will help us and those people who will send us down the wrong path?