Love is the spirit of this church,
and service its law.
This is our great covenant:
To dwell together in peace,
To seek the truth in love,
And to help one another. — James Vila Blake (1842-1925), Unitarian minister
One of the central tasks of religious life is the creation of beloved community: a group of people joined together by shared commitment to one another and to values which define the group.
In this session the biblical story of Noah highlights the idea of a covenant—a sacred promise. Participants create a wall hanging to display the rainbow sign which God gives in the Noah story as an emblem of this first covenant. This rainbow wall hanging will serve as the basis for an introductory activity to be used throughout this curriculum.
In addition to the covenant between God and Noah, this session introduces Unitarian James Vila Blake's covenant, "Love is the spirit of this church, and service its law. This is our great covenant: To dwell together in peace, To seek the truth in love, And to help one another." This covenant articulates the essence of what it means to gather in Unitarian Universalist community, and will serve as the structure underlying subsequent sessions.
With participants creating the knotted wall hanging and playing a human knots game, this session introduces knots and tying together as metaphors which unify this curriculum.
This session will:
- Introduce the concept of religious community as people joined together by covenant
- Draw from the Jewish and Christian sources of our living tradition as the root of our concept of covenant
- Use the Blake covenant, used in many Unitarian Universalist congregations, to exemplify what it means to be a covenanted Unitarian Universalist community
- Invite participants to reflect on what covenant means within this group.
- Build community by cooperatively solving a puzzle in a human knots game
- Learn about the concept of covenant through the ancient Noah story
- Create a communal art project, the rainbow wall hanging
- Explore what covenant might mean to their particular group
- Understand our Unitarian Universalist Principles as a statement of covenant.
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