Overview: Infuse beads with spirit in a slow deliberate ritual...then bead them on to a ribbon. We think for a moment, then pass them to a friend for the weekend to hold and care for!
Theme or Background: General, friends, Friday night at a con bonding and trust.
Materials involved: Four special, pretty beads for each person that they will choose themselves, and one ribbon that all the beads will fit onto, somehow. String to tie to the ribbons, making it easier to put the beads on. I recommend those nice big glass beads, like the ones so often imported from Africa.
Details: Preparation: 1 hour, more for more than 30 people.
The ribbons, small enough to fit through the beads, can be as little as 5 inches, but not too large as to make the beads look puny. Use your artistic sense here. After the beads are put on, there should be enough left to knot both ends a few times to secure the beads on the ribbon.
Take a 6-8 inch piece of thin but not invisible string and tie it onto the ribbon. Just one end to one end. You are trying to roll the ribbon up small on one end so it is as small as possible and will fit through the bead easily when guided by the string and a steady hand (in the dark, most likely.) Test a few out, use the time to make sure everyone is making something useable if you have help, and make a few extras so that if people are having real problems you are ready to help them.
OK...got the beads in a bowl? Now to prepare your text. The symbolic activity is ready to go. What will you do with the beads?
Worship: Enter the sanctuary with a song, circle and be seated. Join hands, and introduce the bead bowl. The empty bowl, waiting for our thoughts to fill it with spirit and joy. Pass the ribbons. Talk about the ties that bind in our lives...all the central threads that hold the good pieces together.
With ribbons passed out, pass the bowl and invite everyone to take a bead...this is your chance to guide the group to think about different aspects of their lives...
Something like..."Think about all the friends in your lives and all of your love for them...the wonders they guide you to, and the insights they confide in you. Place that in the bead." Go on as long as you can keep it fresh! Make it worthwhile for the participants.
Next Bead...Something like " The past and all the things you learned...all the times you had...the places you've been"
Next bead the Future
Next bead the Present as we fuse them together, on the strand of theology and beauty we might think of as UUism, or life itself, maybe (Yeah!)
It is powerful to pass the bowl around every time. Make sure to repeat the infusions, and to do your best to make a long explanation that has a simple mantra in it for people like me who have bad short term memory while listening to the speaker and trying to thread a bead with 40 other lovely people in the light of a few candles. (Just some friendly advice.)
It is also powerful to take the next full step after a song, so think of something good to sing! Dear friends? I don't know...something good though...okay...good song...happy thoughts...
Now we enter community this weekend to share and learn, grow and change, be and let be. In this, we are a community, we make the choice to commune...we reaffirm the covenant...you can say your con covenant here if you have one...good idea, I think...and then in this community we practice trust and responsibility as we respect and love...and we take action...so give the beads to the person on your right, and they will cherish them for you for the weekend, and then give them back at closing. Sing a happy song that you can finish in a hug!