We are all longing to go home to some place we have never been — a place half-remembered and half-envisioned we can only catch glimpses of from time to time. Community. Somewhere, there are people to whom we can speak with passion without having the words catch in our throats. Somewhere a circle of hands will open to receive us, eyes will light up as we enter, voices will celebrate with us whenever we come into our own power. Community means strength that joins our strength to do the work that needs to be done. Arms to hold us when we falter. A circle of healing. A circle of friends. Someplace where we can be free. — Starhawk
Today you will explore feelings about one's faith home. The stories in this session are about the prophet Muhammad. He had strong feelings for Mecca, his childhood home and the home city of his clan. As an adult, Muhammad followed his deep desire to bring Islam to Mecca and build a faith home in the city of his family home.
This session might be some children's first introduction to Islam and Muhammad. In telling the stories in this session, you introduce Unitarian Universalist children to one of the world's most influential prophets or teachers and the world's second largest religion. You will have an opportunity to examine values Unitarian Universalism shares with Islam.
There are several aspects of Muhammad's story that connect with Unitarian Universalist values. One is Muhammad's persistence in holding true to his beliefs, as personally experienced, and sharing his beliefs with others. Through Islam, Muhammad's revelations about the nature of Allah and the nature of the universe spread.
As Unitarian Universalists, we believe in truth that comes from direct experience and we believe that speaking our own, personal truths is both a right and a responsibility. We believe we must all listen to our hearts and heads as we go through life's journey. We do not accept religious principles solely because others tell us to believe. We also believe that, at times, we are obliged to act on our beliefs. These values are present in the story of Muhammad's relationship with Mecca.
In Activity 1: Guided Labyrinth Meditation, you will document the children's comments about what they enjoy about their faith home. A short-term Faith in Action activity, Spreading the Word, guides you to engage the children in sharing these comments with others, via the congregation's website or printed bulletins. This Faith in Action project may require the permission of your director of religious education as well as the children's parents. You will also need to involve an adult in the congregation who is responsible for the website or other publicity materials.
This session will:
- Introduce children to the life of the prophet Muhammad
- Explore feelings, both positive and negative, that can be evoked by your faith home
- Make connections between some values and experiences children find at their Unitarian Universalist faith home and some values and experiences that can be found in Islam
- Offer children an inward journey, using guided meditation and a labyrinth
- Provide an experience for children of gaining insights from one of the Unitarian Universalist sources, the world's religions
- Use a labyrinth to take a guided, inward journey
- Practice seeing things differently
- Learn about the prophet, Muhammad
- Practice cooperation and problem solving skills
- Learn about the poet, Rumi
- Learn about Islam as a religion defined by beliefs, practices, and history
- Discover a way Unitarian Universalism connects to Islam as a source
- Optional: Interpret poetry with acting and movement
- Optional: Build a timeline of their faith home and their families' participation in it
- Optional: Use their own articulated, positive experiences of their faith home to communicate about your congregation to newcomers and visitors
- Optional: Reinforce their understanding of parallel functions of a faith home and a family home