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In "Love Will Guide Us," a Tapestry of Faith program
This activity establishes the program's opening ritual and introduces the Night Sky display.
Gather the children in a circle. Distribute Handout 1, Ten Million Stars, or point out the words printed on newsprint. Light the chalice and invite the group to read the words together responsively.
Indicate the Night Sky display. Say, in your own words:
Have you ever looked up and seen the stars in the night sky? When people first began to ponder the night sky, they wondered, "What are stars and why are they there? Why do they move?" "Where did I come from? How did life begin? Why am I here?" Although the sky did not give the answers, people used the stars as symbols for their beliefs about the important questions in their lives.
When people looked at their night sky, they saw patterns and pictures in the way the stars were arranged. Thousands of years ago, Greeks and Romans, Chinese and Arabs, Native Americans, and other peoples all around the world named constellations for gods they worshipped, animals they relied on, and everyday scenes from their lives.
Indicate the Big Dipper. Invite the children to discover the pattern of a dipping spoon. Say:
We call this constellation the Big Dipper. But if we lived in Southern France, we would call it a Saucepan. Do you see a saucepan?
Ask participants what other pictures they see. Encourage them to imagine the constellation upside down. Tell them:
To the Skidi Pawnee Indians, this constellation looked like a sick man being carried on a stretcher.
To the ancient Maya, it was a mythological parrot named Seven Macaw.
To the Hindu, it looked like Seven Wise Men.
To the early Egyptians, it was the thigh and leg of a bull.
To the ancient Chinese, it was the chariot of the Emperor of Heaven.
The Micmac Indians saw a bear instead of the scoop, and hunters tracking the bear instead of the handle.
People discovered how to use the stars to guide them when travelling. Knowing the constellations in the night sky helped them find the direction they wanted to go.
In the 19th century, people who were kept as slaves in the Southern states gave the Big Dipper a new name: the Drinking Gourd. This constellation became a symbol of freedom. Slaves who escaped knew they could travel at night, following the Drinking Gourd, to get to the Northern states where they would be free.
Say, while pointing to the North Star:
This one star does not move much in the Night Sky. The earth rotates and orbits around the sun, but this star, the North Star, is located directly above the North Pole, so it seems to always stay in the same place in the sky. Travelers without a map, a compass, or a GPS can use the North Star to know where they are and where they are going.
Now indicate the poster you have made of the seven Sources. Say, in your own words:
For Unitarian Universalists, our Sources guide us, like stars in the Night Sky guide travelers. We use the wisdom of many Sources to help us answer the big questions about what we believe—just like ancient peoples used the stars.
We will learn about all seven Sources on our UU Sources poster. And we will learn about something else that guides us: love. Love is always there, like the North Star. It can always help us know where we are. Love helps guide us, as Unitarian Universalists, to make the right choices and decisions.
Indicate the Night Sky display.
Love will be our North Star as we build a Night Sky together. Each time we meet, we will add stars to our Night Sky as we discover the Sources that guide Unitarian Universalists, just as the stars have guided seekers and travelers for thousands of years.
Distribute Handout 2, Love Will Guide Us Lyrics or indicate the lyrics you have posted. Sing "Love Will Guide Us" together.
Collect handouts or newsprint for re-use.
For participants who are not fluent readers, take time to teach the opening words and the song aurally, so children can come to know them from memory.
We highly recommend using an LED chalice to avoid a fire hazard and include participants who are sensitive to smoke or scents.
For more information contact web @ uua.org.
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Last updated on Thursday, October 27, 2011.
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