Alternate Activity 5: Music and Worship

Activity time: 20 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Christian Evangelical music selections, Unitarian Universalist music selections, and a music player
  • Copies of Singing the Living Tradition, the Unitarian Universalist hymnbook and Singing the Journey, its supplement

Preparation for Activity

  • Download Christian praise music free, on the website Free Praise and Worship. Explore the genre Christian rock online. Include selections from African American gospel. Set up and test music player.
  • Gather audio clips of Unitarian Universalist music or prepare to lead the group in song. You may wish to invite a musical person in your congregation to help lead "Spirit of Life," Hymn 123 in Singing the Living Tradition. Hear "Spirit of Life" online, in a video of a dance to accompany the song, demonstrated by Penny Wollan-Kriel of Abraham Lincoln Unitarian Universalist Congregation (Springfield, IL).
  • Optional: Bring copies of Singing the Living Tradition and Singing the Journey.
  • Optional: Prepare to teach or lead a hymn from Singing the Living Tradition or Singing the Journey that has Christian roots or a message compatible with Evangelical Christianity. Some suggestions are Hymn 268, "Jesus Christ Is Risen Today" or Hymn 348, "Guide My Feet" in Singing the Living Tradition, and Hymn 1045, "There Is a Balm in Gilead" in Singing the Journey.

Description of Activity

Youth listen to a variety of genres of Christian Evangelical music and compare and contrast with Unitarian Universalist music they know.

Invite the youth to listen to Christian praise music you have selected. Then ask:

  • What did you enjoy about this music?
  • What, if anything, did you dislike?
  • Did anything make you uncomfortable? Why?

Now play a recording of, or lead the group to sing, "Spirit of Life," Hymn 123 in Singing the Living Tradition. Ask:

  • What do you like about this song?
  • What, if anything, do you dislike?
  • In what ways is "Spirit of Life" a UU song? How is the message UU? Do any phrases seem especially Unitarian Universalist to you? What about the tune and rhythm of the song?
  • How do you think an Evangelical Christian might respond to "Spirit of Life?" What might they find appealing about it? Might this song make an Evangelical uncomfortable? Why?

Variation

Distribute copies of Singing the Living Tradition and Singing the Journey. Invite the youth to look for hymns that have Christianity as a source or seem to have an Evangelical flavor or message. Suggest they look at Hymn 268, "Jesus Christ Is Risen Today" or Hymn 348, "Guide My Feet" in Singing the Living Tradition, and Hymn 1045, "There Is a Balm in Gilead" in Singing the Journey. Optional: Lead the group to sing one of the hymns.

Guide the youth to examine the hymns they have found. Ask them to point out phrases, tunes, and rhythms that suggest commonalities between UU beliefs and worship and Evangelical Christian beliefs and worship.

For more information contact religiouseducation@uua.org.

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