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Life becomes religious whenever we make it so: when some new light is seen, when some deeper appreciation is felt, when some larger outlook is gained, when some nobler purpose is formed, when some task is well done.
— Sophia Lyon Fahs, Unitarian minister and religious educator
This session introduces the intangible gift of spirit, which we give and receive as members of a faith community when we worship together, celebrate together, and support and comfort one another. At its best, a Unitarian Universalist faith community nourishes all members with affirmation of their spirit and acceptance of their unique spiritual paths.
In this session, the children recognize that they each have their own spirit. They learn that when they bring their spirit into their faith community, they are sharing a gift. To many people, this communion of spirits is synonymous with the presence of God or the Spirit of Life.
In the story, A Lamp in Every Corner, people in a Transylvanian village build a church so they can come together for the purpose of sharing their spirit. When the building is complete, the individual lamps they carry to light the way to the church illuminate their gathering.
Think of the group of children as a faith community. Call attention to ways in which they share their spirit during the session. For example, Activity 3: Sharing Joys and Concerns, introduces a ritual that is common in Unitarian Universalism. You will point out that by being open in sharing their joys and supportive of others' concerns, the children give each other the gift of spirit.
Two of the alternate activities require individual photographs of each child in the group. If you plan to lead either of these activities, ask parents ahead of time to provide photos of their children, or arrange access to a digital camera and a photo printer or an instant camera and film.
This session will:
- Introduce the intangible gift of spirit
- Provide children with ways to share their spirit, such as singing together and sharing joys and concerns
- Demonstrate how we affirm one another's spirit and spiritual paths when we share our beliefs and values, and support those of others, even if they are different
- Connect the intangible gift of spirit with the third Unitarian Universalist Principle: acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations.
- Experience themselves as people who can give and receive the intangible gift of spirit as they learn ways to do so
- Learn and sing the song, "This Little Light of Mine"
- Affirm each other's spirits and spiritual selves through the beliefs and values continuum game
- Engage in the spiritual practices of chalice lighting, sharing of joys and concerns, and intentional discussion, with a focus on how these acts express a sharing of spirit.