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Activity 5: Rumi
Activity time: 15 minutes
Materials for Activity
- A copy of Singing the Living Tradition, the Unitarian Universalist hymnbook
- Optional: A tape or CD of Sufi music and the equipment to play it
- Blank paper
- Crayons or color markers
Preparation for Activity
- Find suggestions to research Sufi music in Leader Resources.
- Be ready to sing, or lead the children in singing "Come, Come Whoever You Are," Hymn 188 in Singing the Living Tradition.
- If the children do not already know the song, decide whether you want to teach it to them or simply to sing it so they can hear it.
Description of Activity
The children will discover a way Unitarian Universalism connects to Islam as a source.
Tell the children that a Muslim poet named Rumi once wrote some words that many Unitarian Universalist congregations now like to sing. Say:
Rumi wrote poems in the Arabic language, almost a thousand years ago. His full name was Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi. We sing the words in English. The song is our Unitarian Universalist hymn, "Come, Come Whoever You Are".
If the children learned Hymn 188 in Session 12: John Murray, they may be able to sing it with you. If they haven't learned it, you can teach it to them. Teach the children Hymn 188 by singing one line at a time and then asking them to repeat the line. Then sing the whole song together several times. If they, and you, know it well, you may like to sing it as a round.
Now tell the children you will read the words the way they sound in the Rumi poem. Share the poem with the class.
Come, Come whoever you are.
Worshiper, Wanderer, Lover of Leaving;
Ours is not a caravan of despair.
Though you have broken your vows a thousand times...
Come, come again, come
Rumi wrote poetry as a way to talk about love. Muhammad's love for Makkah was a driving force behind his wish to bring Islam to the city. Islam, like Christianity and Judaism, believes in the importance of love. In that way, Unitarian Universalism is similar to all of these three religions.
Invite the children to sit at worktables and draw a picture about love. Distribute paper and crayons or color markers. To help children get started, you may ask some questions such as:
- What color reminds you of love?
- Do you think of love in a particular place? Indoors? Outdoors?
- What animal reminds you of love?
To structure the assignment more, you can have children work in selected colors only. Challenge different children to draw "red love," "blue love," "yellow love," etc.
If have a CD or tape of Sufi music, tell children what they will hear, and play the music while they draw.