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Taking It Home, Session 4: Love Your Neighbor as Yourself

In "Love Connects Us," a Tapestry of Faith program

Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. — Hebrew scripture, Leviticus 19:18

IN TODAY'S SESSION... participants explored how, when love is the spirit of our church, we can find it in our hearts to treat others as we would like to be treated. Participants heard different statements of the ethic of reciprocity (also known as the Golden Rule) from a variety of religions and philosophies and a story about racing competitors who gave up their own chance to win when they chose to help a fellow runner after he fell. The participants worked together as a team to tie a knot in a rope. They wrote affirmations to each other to emphasize the idea of offering hospitality to everyone.

EXPLORE THE TOPIC TOGETHER. Talk about... ways you have extended friendship toward someone who seemed very different from yourself, or times when you forged or continued a relationship of some sort with a person who had vastly different (or even opposing) viewpoints. Share some experiences where you found it difficult to be welcoming to someone different (such as someone with opposing political viewpoints); explore what you did to overcome this or what you could do differently if you find yourself in the same situation again.

EXTEND THE TOPIC TOGETHER. As a family, reach out in some way to a neighbor, family member, or friend who has a different viewpoint than yours. You might invite them over for dinner to your house, plan a picnic at a park together, bring over a covered dish or dessert to their house or even write a letter of appreciation to them.

Family Discovery. Take some time away to do something together as a family that you might not normally do. If your family getaways usually involve hotel stays, try tent camping instead. If you usually hit the beach on sunny summer days, try a hike in the woods; or go to a beach on a cool autumn day to experience a much different place. Sometimes when we "mix it up" and do things differently, it helps us experience life from another perspective. This can be a handy way to open ourselves up to the possibility of accepting the viewpoints of others.

A Family Ritual. Share affirmations together as a family by lighting candles and each sharing one positive trait another family member has. Or, each share a positive memory you share with another family member. You might also adopt this as a mealtime ritual: Take a minute to express your thankfulness for the meal and the presence of your family members, and then encourage each family member to state a positive affirmation about someone else at the table.

For more information contact web @ uua.org.

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Last updated on Thursday, October 27, 2011.

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