Taking It Home
Each of us has a personal calling that's as unique as a fingerprint ... discover what you love and then find a way to offer it to others in the form of service, working hard, and also allowing the energy of the universe to lead you. — Oprah Winfrey
IN TODAY'S SESSION... we concluded our exploration of the Blake covenant by acting out its five key phrases in a game, Covenant Charades. We compared the Blake covenant with our own congregation's covenant. We heard a story about a group of children who found the need to create a covenant on their own when disputes erupted over who could use a treehouse.
EXPLORE THE TOPIC TOGETHER. Talk about... groups you have been involved in and the covenants they used (either formal or informal). Talk about having a covenant made that group a good experience for you, or how the covenant hindered your participation.
EXTEND THE TOPIC TOGETHER. Try... creating a family covenant. Take some time to explore ways you want to behave with one another. Keep in mind that a covenant does not provide rules ("no hitting") so much as ways of engagement ("treat each other with respect"). Light a chalice to lift the moment from the ordinary to a place of importance. Brainstorm ideas for your family covenant, and then combine the ideas to write a three- or four-line covenant. Create colorful posters to display the covenant around your home.
A Family Adventure. Obtain a copy of your congregation's covenant. Read it together and talk about how you have seen its values in action. Share your observations about how well the covenant works in your congregation and your suggestions for anything that could be added. Identify the appropriate congregational leaders with whom you can share ideas your family would like to contribute.
Family Discovery. Use history websites and books, preferably with timelines, to explore instances when groups created covenants to articulate shared expectations about behavior. For example, the U.S. Constitution can be considered a covenant among the nation's founders, the Ten Commandments a covenant among the Hebrew people or between the Hebrew people and their God. Consider these websites as a starting off point: The Hyper History website, the Ohio State University eHistory website, the Smithsonian American History Timeline, and the University of Houston Digital History website.
A Family Game. Designate a time when the family is at your congregation together as "covenant search time." Hand each person a notebook or piece of paper and invite them to circulate among the groups of people, taking note of when they witness someone acting on one of the elements of the Blake covenant (such as "dwelling together in peace"). Young participants who are unable to write words can draw pictures of what they find. Compare notes at home.
A Family Ritual. If you create a family covenant together, create a recurring ritual to share it intentionally. You might say the covenant together before a shared meal or recite it once a week, lighting a chalice or candle to mark this special family time.