Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Riddle and Mystery: A Program on the Big Questions for Grade 6

Taking It Home: The Big Questions

Being religious means asking passionately the question of the meaning of our existence and being willing to receive answers, even if the answers hurt. — Paul Tillich

Talk about the quote. Paul Tillich was a religious philosopher who lived from 1886 to 1965. He seems to be saying that being religious means asking and trying to answer big questions. Do you agree with that? Do you think most Unitarian Universalists agree with that?


We talked about big questions in general and one in particular: "Where do we come from?" We heard a song that includes the question and says "life is a riddle and a mystery." We talked about some of our own answers, and we heard a story that explains everything by saying it is "turtles all the way down." We set up our WCUU television studio and did a WCUU broadcast about some UU ideas about where we come from.


What do family members and friends have to say about the question: "Where do we come from?"


Find your own way to have fun with questions. Play a question-based game, like Jeopardy. Try some riddles. Or, play Twenty Questions: One player thinks up the name of a person, place or object that others have to guess by asking "yes" or "no" questions. Whoever gets the answer (by asking "Is it so-and-so? (or such-and-such?)" is the winner and gets to think up the next challenge. Consider a round or two of Twenty Questions about people and things connected to your religion and congregation.


Photograph something that makes you ask a question. What might that be? A grand piano in the middle of a field would make you ask, "What is that doing there?" Maybe you look out a window and see a bird feeder that makes you ask, "What kind of birds come there?" or "Does it need to be filled?" Bring your photo to the next session of Riddle and Mystery.


Visit a place that can help you answer big questions. What will it be? A church? A museum? Where else can you go?


The sessions of Riddle and Mystery all begin with a chalice lighting ritual. Many other UU events also include rituals. Rituals are not just for religions. Families have rituals, too — ways they usually act together on certain occasions. You might have rituals that you follow together on holidays like Hanukkah or Christmas. Some families share the ritual of beginning each meal by saying grace, or thanks. What are some of your rituals? Where did they come from? Are they connected with your religious ideas? Do they help your family affirm or celebrate something else?


Take a family walk to look at the sky on a nice, clear night. What do you see? What questions come to mind? Think if you were a cave person who lived many centuries ago and never saw a science book. Would your questions be different? Would the places you looked for answers be different?


Share the song from the session with your family. It is ""Where Do We Come From?" Maybe you can borrow a copy of Singing the Journey to look at the music together; the song is Hymn 1003.


Look around your home for images of people working for economic justice. Include books, magazines and newspaper articles, as well as congregational and community service projects that involve your family members.