We are continuing to examine prayer and spiritual practice. Did you try praying at home? Prayer is a type of spiritual practice. This Sunday we are going to explore another spiritual practice called Meditation.
Meditation is a time where you can be with yourself. It is a quiet time where you can listen to your heart.
Some people create a special place to meditate. It is a place where you keep things that remind you of your heart. It might be a shell from your favorite beach, or a leaf from a forest, or a picture of your family.
Do you know what's really great about meditation?
You don't need any special equipment, or to be with special people, the great thing is that you can meditate anywhere, any time – all you need is you!
We’re going to each make a Zen Garden is tray with sand and stones. You rake the garden and move the stones around. You can make designs with your rake and arrange your garden in anyway you like. It is another way to meditate because you focus on the garden and clear your mind.
What did you think about meditating?
Unitarian Universalists believe it is important to explore different ways of being spiritual.
What becomes of the colored girl? The muses of song, poetry and art do not woo and exalt her. She has inspired no novels. Those who write … seldom think of this dark-skinned girl who is persistently breaking through the petty tyrannies of cast into the light of recognition. – Fannie Barrier Williams
He drew a circle that shut me out
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout
But love and I had the wit to win;
We drew a circle that took him in. – Edwin Markham
IN TODAY'S SESSION… We learned about the power of working together in a group by hearing the story of Unitarian Fannie Barrier Williams (1855-1944), who was active in establishing the African American women's club movement as an agency for justice and social change. We began to put into action the second Unitarian Universalist Principle, which states that we affirm and promote justice, equity, and compassion in human relations, by forming a Faithful Journeys Action Club that welcomes all to join and will take on a justice or service project. Our signpost to help guide us in faithful action was “Be Fair.”
EXPLORE THE TOPIC TOGETHER. Talk about… Ask your child about the social action projects the group discussed today. Affirm why those justice issue is important. Tell your child about a justice issue that is important to you and explain how any groups you belong to – such as your congregation, a committee within it, or a local advocacy or social justice group – explicitly act on it.
EXTEND THE TOPIC TOGETHER. Try… Pay extra attention to times when your child acts fairly or works for justice. Point out instances of your child acting faithfully in a way that reflects the second Unitarian Universalist Principle of justice, equity, and compassion in human relations. Your child will have the opportunity to share these actions with the Faithful Journeys group next time we meet.
To work more with this session's theme of exclusion/inclusion, read together Best Friends for Frances by Russell Hoban, illustrated by Lillian Hoban (New York: HarperCollins, 1969). The picture-book hedgehog learns how it feels to be excluded and uses her learning to be more inclusive of her little sister, Gloria. While the text may be easy for your second- or third-grader to read, the message is timeless.
Find a justice issue that everyone in the family is concerned about and brainstorm ways that your family can take action. For example, you could write a family letter to the school superintendent to protest an unfair policy, or donate some of your belongings to a charitable organization. Set aside a regular time when your family can discuss and study your issue or take action together. Make it a point to invite other people to join your family from time to time, such as neighbors, extended family or friends.
Learn about service clubs that are active in your area, such as Lions, Kiwanis or Boys & Girls Club. Find out what they do for the community and volunteer to help at a charitable event.
Language exerts hidden power, like the moon on the tides. — Rita Mae Brown, author and activist
Language is a city to the building of which every human being brought a stone. —Ralph Waldo Emerson
Language is power, life and the instrument of culture, the instrument of domination and liberation. — Angela Carter, 20th-century British author
IN TODAY'S SESSION…
If we are to achieve the beloved community that liberal religion seeks to create, we must maintain a discipline of deep listening. This session guides participants to understand their responsibility to be both self-aware of their communications and aware of how others might receive them. The activities and stories in this session demonstrate that we cannot make assumptions about what people mean to say, nor can we assume others will automatically understand us. Making the effort to communicate and understand one another is both a practical and spiritual task. The group discussed communication approaches to make a newcomer to our congregation feel welcome and learned to say “welcome” in at least one language other than English.
EXPLORE THE TOPIC TOGETHER. Talk about…
Exposure to different languages can help children understand that language is only a representation of human experience, one that varies widely from culture to culture and from person to person. Where do your family members encounter written or spoken languages other than English? Do different members of your family “speak” different body languages and does that sometimes cause them to misunderstand one another?
EXTEND THE TOPIC. Try…
A FAMILY ADVENTURE
Family members can join in the children's Faith in Action project and commit to doing one of the following activities before Windows and Mirrors meets next:
- Say “welcome” to someone in another language.
- Watch a foreign language TV channel.
- Observe others talking and notice the gestures they use and what they mean.
A FAMILY GAME
Investigate body language communication patterns in your family. Encourage your child and other family members to pay attention during your conversations to how many times, and when, their listener(s) smiled or nodded their heads. Make a list of body language affirmations that are universally understood—at least in your family.
A FAMILY RITUAL
For a week, challenge family members to start each day by greeting one another with “Good morning” in a different language.
Please bring your instrument to church again! We are continuing to plan and practice for the Coffee House on March 19.
We are also making plans for a Snack Bar which Explorers will run during the Coffee House.