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Alternate Activity 2: Songs - Just As Long As I Have Breath and Love Will Guide Us

Activity time: 10 minutes

Materials for Activity

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

Preparation for Activity

  • Decide how best to present the songs "Just as Long as I Have Breath," Hymn 6 in Singing the Living Tradition, and/or "Love Will Guide Us," Hymn 131-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

Unitarian Universalists often express our ideas in hymns. Introduce "Just as Long as I Have Breath" and/or "Love Will Guide Us" as two of the most popular hymns sung in UU congregations. Be sure the group hears the words to at least the first verse of each song. Then lead a discussion about the song(s).

"Just as Long as I Have Breath." Tell the group the lyrics imagine somebody asking what they did well in life, and offers some answers. The answers begin in the first line; the question does not appear until the end of the third line. Ask participants how singers of the hymn wish to be remembered. (For saying "yes" to life, truth and love.) Ask if the group agrees with these answers. Point out that the words describe an attitude toward life, not a list of specific accomplishments like earning money and winning awards. How else might the group answer the question in the hymn?

"Love Will Guide Us." Point out that the lyrics talk about love as a force that will not just guide singers of this hymn, but also help them change the world in good ways.

To conclude, ask the group:

  • What does it say about our Unitarian Universalist faith that these are two of our most popular hymns?

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