We see in the world around us many symbols that teach us the meaning of life. You could notice if you wanted to, but you are usually too busy. We Indians live in a world of symbols and images where the spiritual and the commonplace are one. — John Fire/Lame Deer and Richard Erodes
Session 2 of Creating Home will discuss the chalice in detail including the sacred circles that surround the chalice. The session also introduces the hymn "Spirit of Life" as a symbol of Unitarian Universalist communities. The children will work to design their own symbol to represent their own faith. Exploring symbols of faith helps children develop the ability to articulate and define what they believe. This ability to define what we believe as Unitarian Universalists is an important skill for children to acquire.
Developmentally, symbolic learning is a hard concept for children before the age of nine. Symbols represent something else, often something abstract. Children perceive, understand, and express themselves concretely. Yet, children can cultivate their skills of observation, reflection, and making connections. In Lame Deer, Seeker of Visions, Lame Deer reminds us that to understand symbols we must be less busy and more observant. In this session, children slow down and really look at the chalice and the hymn, "Spirit of Life." They will identify other things in their community of faith that they believe are symbols. Symbols can be personal. As participants explore this topic, no identification of a faith symbol is wrong.
This session may be some children's first explicit encounter with the idea of a "symbol." The Opening includes an easy example to share with the group, based on the shape we call a heart, that will help them understand how a familiar shape is a symbol that represents something else.
As you continue the opening and closing rituals introduced in Session 1, be alert to what children do and do not remember about the rituals. Invite new observations and questions about the labyrinth and the term "threshold" as they spend more time with these concepts. Remember that the name stones will be used each session and some children may have been absent during Session 1. Allow time for the new children to decorate their stones.
This session will:
- Help participants understand what a symbol is
- Introduce the chalice as a symbol of their Unitarian Universalist faith home
- Help participants recognize the hymn "Spirit of Life" as a symbolic representation of their Unitarian Universalist faith home
- Deepen participants' understanding of the threshold as an important place in the faith home and the family home
- Help participants connect opening and closing spiritual practices with practices of their Unitarian Universalist faith home
- Create a personal faith symbol or decorate a chalice
- Construct a chalice as a symbol of their faith home to use in their family home
- Listen and interact with the story, "Flame of Learning, Chalice of Love". Explore the meaning of the components of the chalice symbol
- Learn the hymn, "Spirit of Life"
- Create personal symbols of faith
- Optional: Internalize the chalice story by participating in a Faith in Action project involving refugees