We all have different ways of doing things. We also have different ideas and beliefs about things. We have different ways of solving problems and playing games. Today we are going to talk about how important it is to respect the different ways people think about God.
We will hear the story Old Turtle by Doug Wood and think about what it means to be a “message of love and prayer from the earth.” We will have the opportunity to make a turtle from clay and try some turtle mazes.
Friend, I have lost the way.
The way leads on.
Is there another way?
The way is one … .
I cannot find the way.
The way leads on.
Oh, places I have passed!
That journey's done.
And what will come at last?
The way leads on.
— excerpted from “The Way” by Edwin Muir , in Singing the Living Tradition
IN TODAY'S SESSION… We focused on Egbert Ethelred Brown, born in Jamaica and the first black Unitarian minister, ordained in 1912. Facing racial prejudice, economic hardship, and the challenge of holding a minority theological perspective, he devoted his adult life to sharing liberal religion with others, first in Jamaica and later in Harlem. We talked about Ethelred Brown as a model of our fourth Principle, a free and responsible search for truth and meaning. We went on our own truth and meaning treasure hunt, searching first for words that reflect our seven Principles, and then for objects to serve as symbols for those words. Our signpost to help guide us in faithful action was “Seek Truth.”
EXPLORE THE TOPIC TOGETHER. Talk about… the concept of ministry. Many people understand ministry to be not only the work of ordained clergy, but of all people who feel called to share their gifts in a special, positive way. If this idea resonates for you, tell your child what you feel your ministry to be. Ask them to reflect on their personal gifts and how they can share them with others.
EXTEND THE TOPIC TOGETHER. Try… An evangelist in a liberal religious context, Ethelred Brown dedicated his life to inviting others to seek truth and meaning. How do you share your beliefs?
Talk with your children about any person or family you know that might enjoy experiencing your congregation. Discuss how you might, in a respectful way, invite this person or family to join you for worship or another congregational event. Follow through and issue the invitation. Afterward, regardless of how the invitation was received, discuss as a family how it felt to ask another person to experience your beliefs and faith community. Was it embarrassing? Empowering? Might you like to try it again?
As part of your family search for truth and meaning, experience a religious service with an unfamiliar worship style and/or theology. Afterward, discuss what each of you liked, did not like, agreed with, and disagreed with.
A FAMILY RITUAL
As your child leaves for school in the morning, place your hand on their head and offer the blessing, “Be curious today.”
A FAMILY GAME
Play Truth Hide-and-Seek. As in traditional Hide-and-Seek, designate hiders and a seeker. Play as usual, except that, to be released, a person who is found must say one thing they believe is true, such as a scientific fact or an ethical or theological belief.
Continue the theological inquiry begun in this session by sharing a book such as What Is God? by Etan Boritzer, illustrated by Robbie Marantz (Buffalo, NY: Firefly Books, 1990).
The practice of forgiveness is our most important contribution to the healing of the world. — Marianne Williamson
IN TODAY'S SESSION…
We affirmed the value of forgiving people who break the rules of a community. We explored the idea of expressing righteous anger when we have been hurt by someone, seeking that person's sincere apology, and then letting go of the anger by offering sincere forgiveness. The practices we used in this session can be used in daily life.
EXPLORE THE TOPIC TOGETHER. Talk about…
Ask your child what they found most meaningful about their religious education session today—having this conversation directly afterward tends to yield the most information. You might ask, “What do you think about forgiveness?” Ask them whether and how they have been hurt by someone whose apology they seek. Ask them what it would take for them to forgive that person. Ask them what practices they learned today that might help them. Share about a time you have sought forgiveness when you knew you had hurt or wronged someone. Share about at time you forgave someone else. Be honest about how forgiving and seeking forgiveness have been challenging or rewarding for you.
EXTEND THE TOPIC TOGETHER. Try…
Have each member of the family write a forgiveness letter to someone else. Invite everyone to prepare by writing their feelings of hurt or betrayal first, then writing an imaginary apology from the person who hurt them. These writings should stay private; it may be a good idea to rip them up.
Then, each person writes a sincere letter of forgiveness, or a letter that says they want to forgive the person (but are not yet ready). If there are young members of the family who haven't learned to write yet, ask them to talk about forgiving someone who hurt their feelings. Share the forgiveness letters with each other. Affirm that forgiveness is important for a healthy family.
Find out online what a group called the Worldwide Forgiveness Alliance does to promote forgiveness, including a day in August for local celebrations of forgiveness and a web page of ” forgiveness heroes .”
Explorers are talking about current events and Unitarian Universalist principles and values. How do our Principles help guide us when making decisions about politics, energy use, water rights, social issues, and so many other issues? Do we need new Principles? Do we need to change any of our current Principles? How can we use our UU values and principles to make informed decisions?
Coming of Age
What are your beliefs about death? What happens after we die? The Coming of Agers watched video clips last Sunday; this Sunday we will share our experience with death and our personal beliefs about death. We will hear the story The Mustard Seed and consider what it means to grieve well.