Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Virtue Ethics: An Ethical Development Program for High School Youth

Activity 4: A Generous Spirit

Part of Virtue Ethics

Activity time: 15 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Chalice and centering table
  • Candles for all participants (including leaders), and a lighter, or LED/battery-operated tea lights for all participants
  • Story, "The Gift of a Gemstone"
  • Handout 1, Litany of Generosity

Preparation for Activity

  • Plan how you will engage the youth in a worship experience. Youth might read the chalice lighting, read the story, open a reflection, read parts in the Litany of Generosity (Handout 1), and/or each light a candle. Assign reading parts to volunteers ahead of time, and give them their parts in advance.
  • Copy the handout for all participants.
  • Set the chalice and the candles or tea lights on a centering table, with the chalice.

Description of Activity

Youth explore generosity as a spiritual practice.

Invite the youth to participate in worship with you. Assign volunteer roles you have not yet assigned. Distribute handouts as needed.

Gather the group around the chalice. If it has been extinguished, relight it with these words by Jacques Yves Cousteau:

It takes generosity to discover the whole through others. If you realize you are only a violin, you can open yourself up to the world by playing your role in the concert.

Tell or read the story “The Gift of a Gemstone.”

Invite participants to reflect silently on gifts transformed: Has there been a time they gave away something that was insignificant to them but of great value to someone else? Have they ever given a gift they assumed would be used in one way, but the recipient used it in another? How did they feel? Were they able to give freely and feel joyful for the recipient? After two minutes, invite volunteers to share.

Indicate the candles or tea lights. Ask everyone to join in the litany. Explain who will read which lines and how you would like the group to light the candles. For example, you might have volunteers each read a line in the litany, then light a candle. Have youth without a reading part each light a candle during the refrains that start, “Spirit of Life and Love…” or invite them to add their own line to the litany.

Including All Participants

Arrange the space for this worship so everyone can meaningfully participate. A youth with mobility limitations could have a partner light their candle while they read a line of the litany. Do not put any youth on the spot to read aloud.