Religious Education or Faith Development involves a little magic, a lot of love, some nature, and a touch of spirit.
Children tend to find spirit in nature, such as a spider spinning its web. And the magic is something that helps them feel connected to something more than what they can see.
The following story comes from a curriculum I wrote that encircles the book “The Everything Seed.”
by Connie Dunn
The morning wind forever blows,
The poem of creation is uninterrupted…
There is more day to dawn.
The sun is but a morning star.
– Written by Henry David Thoreau
Hi, I’m Balrogs Gilthoniel (Pronounced Bahl-Rahgs Geel-thon-eel). I am from beyond the earth, this galaxy and across the universe in a galaxy called Pyzethonia (pronounced Pie-zeh-thon-ee-uh), so far away that you cannot see it from it, even with your most powerful telescopes.
Today, when you look into the sky, look beyond the sky with its clouds, look into the great ocean of space where once upon a very long time ago, an EVERYTHING seed took root and grew everything that is and ever will be. Out in the universe where your planet Earth is part of a giant spinning spiral that you call the Milky Way, there are more EVERYTHING seeds waiting to birth life somewhere in the rich soil of space.
While your spinning spiral spins and spins, you must think beyond this spinning spiral where there are other spinning spirals that look a lot like this galaxy but yet somewhat different. There is life out there. Look at me. Somewhere out there where you cannot see, life exists. The EVERYTHING seed that started your galaxy, your planet, your sun, your moon, and everything that exists on your planet, including you humans, has already given birth to other similar planets in similar galaxies spread in the infinite space of the universe, which is so vast that even I, a traveler from another galaxy cannot describe the distances.
Life looks different on other planets in other galaxies. The life seeds on those planets may have also begun as a single cell, but what made it evolve might be different to what caused the single cell on earth to divide and evolve. Therefore, life in that vast unknown universe that you call space looks different to the face you see in the mirror.
Humans have a lot of growing up to do before earth is ready to meet life beyond earth. You’ve talked about taking care of your planet. Your planet is suffering right now from all the things that humans have done without understanding or acknowledging how it affects other life on the planet. And, no doubt, you might even be causing problems in another galaxy, because you don’t always understand how what you do affects other things.
For example, your ocean has warmed up by a degree or two, which has caused some of the polar caps to melt, which has caused the sea level to rise making less land for all the humans and animals to live on. You call this “global warming.”
Humans also need to learn how to live with each other and the animals and plant life on this planet. Because wars kill many people, destroy the land and natural habitats for animals, humans need to learn how to solve problems without going to war. Adults talk to children often about solving conflicts peacefully, but the different countries haven’t learned how to do that.
Human people are different and the same, but it is your differences that often cause the most problems. Because skin tones are different, religions are different and cultures are different, humans have not learned to accept those differences and to celebrate this diversity. Instead, many humans on your planet are very angry about the differences. Some times the differences have caused certain populations to be treated in ways that are unfair.
Let’s think about this a bit. Because you are a Unitarian Universalist, have you been treated different? Some people are treated unfairly because of their religion or culture. For example, a Native American boy was told he must cut his hair or be expelled from school. As a Native American, his hair was worn in a way that honored his cultural tie to his ancestors. Some schools do not allow Muslim girls to wear their cultural and religious head covering. Are these practices fair?
There are many things on earth that are unfair, but the only way to change them is for each person to stand up for the values that they believe in and to stand in support of those who are being treated unfairly. These are easy words to say, but hard words to live.
As an alien from another planet, it is easy for me to see what is wrong on your planet. But as an alien, I cannot change the things that need to change to ensure that your planet continues to exist. I can tell you that other planets and other life forms cease to exist, because the conditions that allow life have changed. You live on Earth, the third planet from the sun. You are the humans who will inherit the problems that are being caused now. Can you help save your planet? I think you can.
Beyond earth, the life that exists on any given planet could be a just and fair life. Or, it could be life that would threaten all life on your planet. I do not know what lies within all galaxies and all planets. Your technology does not allow you to explore much of the universe. Maybe in your lifetime, you will explore another galaxy and meet a being from across the universe. Maybe you will visit my planet or maybe another planet. Will you be ready to honor that life form? Will that life form be ready to honor yours? These are questions that have no answers today.
What can you do today to begin to ready yourself to not only find life beyond earth but beyond this galaxy? You can look to your own Unitarian Universalist Principles:
- Respect all beings;
- Offer fair and kind treatment;
- Yearn to learn throughout your life;
- Grow by exploring ideas and values together;
- Believe in your ideas and act on them;
- Insist on peace, freedom and justice for all; and
- Value your interdependence on nature.
You could even broaden the last one to think about valuing your interdependence with all that exists in the universe.
Well, it is my time to leave you. Remember that it only took one cell to change that started the entire evolutionary process. It only takes one human to change the ideas and values of all humanity, especially if you encourage others to join you. Then one becomes many.
While this story is part of a curricula that I don’t sell, because much of the material used is from other books and UU curricula (not my own), there are quite a few story collections that I have published. To find those, go to Curricula-UU …Books-UU.