Creating a Valentine of Caring
This ritual was used as a Time for All Ages on Valentine's Day, but could be used on any number of Sundays—whether there are children and youth present or not. Although the spoken roles here are named as Minister and Religious Educator, any two (or more) worship leaders could facilitate this ritual.
Minister: As Unitarian Universalists, we stand on the side of love in many ways. We live out our UU values through acts of caring and service, both large and small.
Religious Educator: In our families, in our friendships, in this congregation, in our schools and workplaces and neighborhoods, across our country, and all over the world, our acts of caring and service make the Spirit of Love visible and tangible.
Minister: When you entered the sanctuary today, many of you received sticky notes. Ushers can supply you with one if you don’t have one now. You may also borrow a pencil to share with others in your row.
Religious Educator: On your sticky note, write down one act of caring and service that you have done in the last year, or maybe even in the last week. If it is easier for you, draw a picture of how you care and serve. We’ll name some ways to make love tangible in case you need ideas.
Minister: If you have done something helpful for a friend in need, that is an act of caring and service. When we send a thoughtful card, give someone a ride, bring food to a neighbor in their time of grief, hold someone in prayer or meditation, take notes for a classmate who is sick, model and remind each other about covenantal behavior, we are creating a valentine of caring.
Religious Educator: If you have been kind to animals, that is an act of caring and service. When we offer birdseed in the winter, care for our gardens without pesticides in the summer, walk our dogs, play with our cats, volunteer at the animal shelter, clean up after our pets, plant flowers for bees and butterflies, we are creating a valentine of caring.
Minister: If you have offered public witness for a more just, equitable, and fair world, that is an act of caring and service. When we help people register to vote, write to our legislators, speak up for equality, learn about racial justice, sponsor and protect refugees, build coalitions for change, we are creating a valentine of caring.
Religious Educator: If you have volunteered to make someone’s life or this world a better place, that is an act of caring and service. When we increase access to food and clean water, work in a community garden, help out in a soup kitchen, visit friends in prison, collect blankets, knit hats, plant trees, help a neighbor learn a new language, volunteer for the church, we are creating a valentine of caring.
Minister: We have so many ways of showing love. Write yours down on a sticky note. As the music begins, please come forward and place your sticky note on our valentine at the front. You may give your note to a neighbor to carry for you.
Religious Educator: May we create a valentine of caring, today and every day. Please come forward as you are moved [or hand your note to someone who can bring it forward on your behalf].
(Participants add their sticky notes to the giant valentine as instrumental music plays.)
Minister: For these and many other opportunities to stand on the side of love, we give thanks.