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To err is human, to forgive divine.
— Alexander Pope
To understand everything is to forgive everything.
— Hindu Prince Gautama Siddhartha, the founder of Buddhism
Session 12 focuses on forgiveness. It explores such religious ideas as redemption and salvation: concepts that are meaningful for many UUs and helpful for youth to understand more fully other faith communities. This is the final session in a series of four based on the theme of spiritual development.
The session begins with the above quotation from Alexander Pope, and then uses stories of Prometheus and Jesus to present two attitudes toward forgiveness. Participants visit a quiet part of the building and then reflect on how place can influence their own spiritual thoughts and understanding. Activity 4, Matching in Motion helps youth remember and understand some religious terms. A series of wall-to-wall questions invites youth to respond to work they have done in Session 9-12 on spiritual development. In Faith in Action, youth consider offering forgiveness to somebody in their own lives.
Language about forgiveness and salvation is thick and may not come easily to sixth graders; do not force it. Give what they can accept and move on. If youth are attentive and interested, take whatever time you need to be sure they understand the theological concepts you present — especially in Activity 1, which introduces original sin, redemption and communion, and talks about salvation in the course of discussing the two stories. Remember to plan tight, but present loose. If discussion is rich, consider using more time for it.
This session will:
- Expose participants to key theological terms involving sin
- Enrich participants' Unitarian Universalist faith with traditional stories
- Encourage youth to consider the role of forgiveness in their own lives
- Supply tools to use for the practice of forgiving
- Optional: Allow youth to practice forgiving themselves and others
- Optional: Look at the program's theme song in greater depth.
- Examine their experiences with and feelings about forgiveness
- Identify steps to take in the acts of forgiving and of asking for forgiveness
- Hear two stories important in Western culture
- Define salvation, redemption, original sin, "being saved," and communion
- Experience spiritual space
- Recap and complete the spiritual development segment of Amazing Grace: Exploring Right and Wrong
- Optional: Expand their understanding of the song "Amazing Grace"
- Optional: Consider offering forgiveness to people in their lives.