Love is the spirit of this church,
and service its law.
This is our great covenant:
To dwell together in peace,
To seek the truth in love,
And to help one another. — James Vila Blake (1842-1925), Unitarian minister
One of the central tasks of religious life is the creation of beloved community: a group of people joined together by shared commitment to one another and to values which define the group.
In this session the biblical story of Noah highlights the idea of a covenant—a sacred promise. Participants create a wall hanging to display the rainbow sign which God gives in the Noah story as an emblem of this first covenant. This rainbow wall hanging will serve as the basis for an introductory activity to be used throughout this curriculum.
In addition to the covenant between God and Noah, this session introduces Unitarian James Vila Blake’s covenant, “Love is the spirit of this church, and service its law. This is our great covenant: To dwell together in peace, To seek the truth in love, And to help one another.” This covenant articulates the essence of what it means to gather in Unitarian Universalist community, and will serve as the structure underlying subsequent sessions.
The details about Sunday morning:
Babies – 4 year olds
• Children’s covenant, chalice lighting and joys & concerns
• Listen to story: Noah and the Rainbow Covenant
What you can do this week at home:
EXPLORE THE TOPIC TOGETHER. Talk about… what covenant means. How is a covenant the same as or different than a promise? Who makes covenants? Do you have any family covenants? Has your family done a baby or child dedication ceremony which involved a covenant on the part of the parents or the congregational community?
EXTEND THE TOPIC TOGETHER. Create a covenant statement for your family. What are your highest goals as a family? What commitments do you make to one another? How are the commitments which parents make to a family different from those the children make? How are they the same?
A Family Ritual. At bedtime, offer your child a special promise, such as “I promise I will listen to you,” or “I promise to honor your creativity.” Or, agree on a ritual way to seal agreements you make in daily life (“I’ll try not to yell if you’ll try not to yell.”) A hug makes a good ritual of commitment, but you may wish to choose an action that is unique to your family and serves as a reminder of the special nature of a covenant.
Let me know if I can be supportive to you in any other way! I am here for you.
All my best with blessings,