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Alternate Activity 2: Song - Light of Ages and of Nations

Activity time: 5 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Copy(ies) of the Unitarian Universalist hymnbook Singing the Living Tradition
  • Optional: A recording of the song and a music player

Preparation for Activity

  • Decide how best to present the song "Light of Ages and of Nations," Hymn 190 (also 189) in Singing the Living Tradition-by reading the words aloud, singing together or playing a recording for the group. If you wish, invite a musical volunteer to help lead this activity.

Description of Activity

Tell the group that Unitarian Universalists often express our ideas in hymns. Introduce "Light of Ages and of Nations" in the way you have planned, being sure that the group hears the words to at least the first verse.

Ask what participants think "thy truth sublime" means. ("Light of ages" probably refers to God or "the word of God," so "thy truth" would mean "God's truth.") Do participants believe there is such a thing as "God's truth"? Do they like the hymn?

Use the words of this hymn to spark a discussion about the connection between "light" and "truth." Remind the group that WCUU broadcasts in this session and Session 4 have both talked about "The blinding light of truth." Say that "the light of truth" is a common expression. If you search for it on the Internet, you get almost half a million hits. The light of truth is usually thought of as a good thing. In fact, we often show good things as light, white or bright, and we often show bad things as dark or black. Ask if the group thinks this division might have a bad effect on how we subconsciously feel about the color of people. Might this way of using language create or reinforce racism?

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