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Introduction

Introduction
Introduction

Everything in nature contains all the power of nature. Everything is made of one hidden stuff.  — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Participants do simple science experiments in this session to create and observe transformations of state. Hands-on engagement with visible, physical transformations based on scientifically explainable processes demonstrates a key Unitarian Universalist tenet: reason and awe are not mutually exclusive. This session provides an experiential grounding to help participants understand the metaphor of transformation in later sessions when they look for miraculous transformations not only in nature but inside the individual human spirit and collectively in human communities.

A folk tale from Korea, “The Snake Husband,” highlights the mystery of transformation and prompts discussion about the natural changes all life forms undergo. Participants consider whether and how there is miracle in human birth, life, and death.

Note: The three experiments in Activity 3 require sources of water and electricity, access to a freezer to store ice cubes, and a variety of materials. Plan to set up the experiment stations before participants arrive.

Goals

This session will:

  • Cultivate experiences of wonder and awe in playful appreciation
  • Engage participants as agents of observable physical transformation through science experiments
  • Demonstrate that both human-made and natural transformations can appear miraculous, regardless of whether they are scientifically explainable
  • Teach that Unitarian Universalism finds no contradiction between miracles and science.

Learning Objectives

Participants will:

  • Practice discernment as to what they believe is a “miracle” as they share their own experiences of “miracle moments”
  • Create and observe changes of state (gas, liquid, solid) through a number of experiments
  • Identify and consider the variety of transformations—some magical, some natural, and some by human agency—in a folk tale from Korea
  • Appreciate the miracle of transformation and life cycles in the natural, physical world
  • Optional: Share the miracle of transformation with the congregation by planning and implementing a Transformation Station project.

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For more information contact religiouseducation@uua.org.