Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Spirit of Life: An Adult Program on Unitarian Universalist Spirituality

Alternate Activity 2: Earth-based Reading and Reflection

Part of Spirit of Life

Activity time: 30 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • One Singing the Living Tradition hymnbook
  • Newsprint, markers, and tape
  • Paper for drawing or writing
  • Drawing and writing implements, such as pencils, color pencils, markers, crayons
  • Bell
  • Clock, watch, or timer that shows seconds
  • Optional: Cordless microphone
  • Optional: Additional arts and crafts materials, including color paper, glue, or objects from nature such as leaves or flowers

Preparation for Activity

  • Review Reading 524 in Singing the Living Tradition and mark the page.
  • Write on newsprint, and post, the following reflection question:
    • In the natural world, we experience the cycle of seed, blossom, fruit, and seed again. We experience the changing of the seasons, the times of light and dark, the cycle of life and death. What cycles and seasons are you experiencing now, and how do they influence your spirituality?

Description of Activity

Offer Reading 524 in Singing the Living Tradition from the contemporary Pagan spiritual leader, Starhawk. Read the passage aloud slowly and clearly. You may wish to use a cordless microphone to make sure all participants can hear you.

After some moments of silence, read the passage a second time. Invite participants to call out words or phrases from the reading that were significant to them.

Invite participants to express their reflections on the reading, using the question you have posted. Indicate that there are paper, writing and drawing implements, and other materials you have provided for those who wish to use them. Explain that they will have five minutes of silence for reflections and responses. Give participants permission to move in the silence-if their most authentic response is a dance, they can dance!

Ring the bell to begin silent time for reflection and expression. Ring the bell again after five minutes.

Now, invite the group to form pairs to share their reflections and creations. Explain that they will have six minutes for sharing in pairs, preferably with someone with whom they have not yet spent time. If you have an odd number of participants, create a triad.

Remind participants that they may share as much or as little as they feel comfortable sharing, and that each person should have the opportunity to speak uninterruptedly and to listen with care and attention. Encourage listeners to affirm speakers, when they have finished, with "Amen" or "Thank you."

Ring the bell at three and six minutes. If you have a triad, watch the time carefully, and remind these participants verbally to switch roles at each two-minute interval.

Re-gather the large group, inviting participants to bring with them any creations they would like to share. Ask for one or two volunteers to show or read aloud their reflections. Pass the cordless microphone to participants who wish to read aloud, so that all can hear them. Thank each participant who shares.

Lead a discussion with these questions:

  • Do natural cycles influence your personal spirituality? If so, how? If not, why not?
  • How might the seasons affect us spiritually? Would anyone like to share an example?
  • How about the cycles of life-birth, childhood, adolescence, adulthood, parenthood, aging, death. How might the cycles of our own lives, or the cycles of others in our lives, affect us spiritually? Would anyone like to share an example?
  • Do you consider your spirituality Earth-centered? Why, or why not?
  • What from this reflection and discussion might you carry forward?