Follow this Order of Service as you lead the opening of Workshop 10, Love.
Welcome participants. Explain that this workshop is devoted to the concept of love. Participants will explore the meaning of love as it is experienced and expressed by individuals and couples.
Light the chalice while reading the following words:
We light this chalice as a symbol of our faith: to seek truth and honesty, to build respect, and to foster greater trust among all people, beginning with ourselves. May we dedicate our time together to these purposes.
Introduce the guiding Unitarian Universalist Principle for this workshop: all seven Unitarian Universalist Principles.
We covenant to affirm and promote the inherent worth and dignity of every person; justice, equity, and compassion in human relations; acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations; a free and responsible search for truth and meaning; the right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large; the goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all; respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.
The transformative power of love underpins every Unitarian Universalist Principle. It is also the foundation for a healthy individual, a healthy couple, and a healthy community. Love can be seen as the source of meaning and as the expression of faith in human relationships. Remembering how to love, and acknowledging the need to give and to receive love, is the basis for all affirmative human relationships. Love can transform us, and can transform a hurting world.
Lead participants through the following guided meditation to center them for the rest of the workshop. Read the words slowly, pausing between phrases.
I invite you into a time of silence. Try to sit with your spine straight, with your feet flat on the floor. Perhaps close your eyes. Take a deep breath, inhale . . . and exhale. Take another deep breath . . . and exhale. Again; this time, as you exhale, let go of all the pressures of the day. Let go of the "to dos," the "should haves" . . . just let them float out of the room. You can return to them later. Take another deep breath. As you inhale, take in the energy of this place. As you exhale, let go of any tension or stress you might be feeling.
Come into this place of connection. Envision yourself expressing love to your partner, with words or deeds. What does it feel like? What does it look like?
[Sit in silence for two to three minutes.]
Please maintain this spirit during the reading.
Read the following passage from When All You Ever Wanted Isn't Enough by Harold Kushner:
I was sitting on a beach one summer day, watching two children, siblings, playing in the sand. They were hard at work building an elaborate sand castle by the water's edge, with gates and towers and moats and internal passages. Just when they had nearly finished their project, a big wave came along and knocked it down, reducing it to a heap of wet sand. I expected the children to burst into tears, devastated by what had happened to all their hard work. But they surprised me. Instead, they ran up the shore away from the water, laughing, and holding hands, and sat down to build another castle. I realized that they had taught me an important lesson. All the things in our lives, all the complicated structures we spend so much time and energy creating are built on sand. Only our relationships to other people endure. Sooner or later, the wave will come along and knock down what we have worked so hard to build up. When that happens, only the person who has somebody's hand to hold will be able to laugh.
Sit in silence for another minute before saying:
When you are ready, please bring your focus back into this room and join our check-in.