Activity time: 15 minutes
Preparation for Activity
- Identify a spiritual space your group can visit conveniently. If you intend to visit your congregation's sanctuary while a service is in progress, speak with the service leaders in advance about how to be present without being interruptive. Other possible spaces include a fire circle, a labyrinth, a garden, or some outdoor space. If your congregation is located near a park or another space that might work well for this activity, consider dedicating more time for a planned visit. If you will be taking youth off the grounds, consult with the religious educator for information about whether permission slips and adult chaperones are needed.
Description of Activity
This activity gives youth a chance to move around as they experience a space-based approach to spiritual feeling.
Lead in to the activity by asking whether participants think that listening to religious stories is spiritual. You might remind them that spirituality is the sense of connection to our deepest selves as well as beyond our selves, to others, to the world, and to the great mystery. Some people think of spirituality as a sense of connection to God and some do feel spiritual when they hear religious stories.
Other people may feel spiritual when they see great art, hear great music, or meditate (as youth may have experienced in Sessions 9 through 11). Still others feel spiritual when they are in certain spaces. These might be spaces in nature or they might be museums, concert halls, houses of worship, or any number of other kinds of spaces. In fact, most churches and temples are designed to be spiritual places. Ask the youth if they think this is true of their own congregational home. If so, where in the building do they feel most spiritual? If not, what could someone do to make the building more spiritual?
Lead the youth on a walk to a part of the building that some people feel is spiritual: your sanctuary, perhaps, or a chapel or a quiet place on the church grounds. Ask participants to sit or stand quietly, in a meditative way. If you expect others to be using the space when you visit, be sure to ask the youth in advance to behave in a way that is not disruptive. Say they should behave well enough so that nobody will have to forgive them later. Stay in the space for at least several minutes.
Return to your meeting room and with a brief discussion tie your visit to the themes of the session. You might ask:
- Are spiritual spaces places that people might visit when they are troubled by their own mistakes or by some wrong things that other people have done? How could a quiet visit to a spiritual space help them forgive themselves and others?
- Do you know of any famous spiritual places? Examples could be famous cathedrals, like Notre Dame, or shrines, gravesites, and places where important events took place, like Appomattox.
- Where else have you experienced a spiritual connection to place?
Including All Participants
Choose a spiritual space accessible to all your participants.