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Mending

MENDING is a time for Unitarian Universalists to focus on forgiveness, atonement and work towards repairing relationships. Like the powerful lessons learned from Yom Kippur, mending occurs within the individual, among community members, and stretches to the Sacred found in many forms. A natural outcome of this holy work is the focus on renewing right relations, supporting reparation efforts, and recommitting to covenants agreed to in congregations, small groups, and self.

Suggested Purposes:

  • ​A focus on self-accountability, metta, repair, covenants, restoring right relations

  • Hear the call for reparations to those harmed

  • Renewal of congregational and other covenants

 

Timing ​

  • Second Principle | Justice, equity, and compassion in human relations
     

  • Third Principle | Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth
     

  • Sixth Principle | The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all
     

  • Shared Values | Transformation, Generosity

Explore & Engage

Activity: UU Covenant Quilt

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(This example quilt was put together quickly to demonstrate the concept. Note that the repeated squares would have different words/names in a real quilt.)

A Unitarian Universalist Covenant Quilt is a wonderful way to help participants spend time considering how they're connnecting with community at this time. It can be done by an entire congregation, a small group or committee, a family, or even alone.

While UU Covenant Quilts can be pieced together at any time, it is ideal to make one at the start of the congregational year, around the time between Water Communion and Mending.

- Each participant fills out the UU Covenant Quilt Square worksheet. The yellow/orange triangles are for what qualities or values they will bring to the congregation/group this year. The green/blue triangles are for what qualities they hope to receive from others in the group. The center square is their signature.


- After completing the worksheet, each person (or a coordinator) cuts out the square and assembles it with other squares to create a quilt.

- You may wish to add 'emphasis squares,' such as the congregation's logo or slogan, hearts, or shapes.


- There are many ways to construct the quilt. If you're lucky enough to have a quilting bee, perhaps you can ask for their help to create a fabric quilt. For a larger group, I find it easist to use poster putty to hang the squares in a tight grid on a wall, take a photo of the quilt hanging, crop, and send it to a photo printer. 

Activity: Create A Covenant

The Tapestry of Faith resource, Harvest the Power 2020, includes a good activity in Workshop 1 for creating a covenant with a smaller UU group. This activity could be offered around Mending for the group to renew or create a covenant. Additionally, it may work well to offer the entire 6-week program as an Adult RE lay leadership course, starting the week after Mending. 

 

 

For larger groups, such as the congregation, it is challenging to create a covenant from scratch at one sitting. Congregations can instead begin a discussion process on main revisions, or they might re-covenant using an existing covenant, making minor revisions as necessary.

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Wisdom Tale: Jonah and the Big Fish

A modern telling of Jonah

by the Rabbi Brian Zachary Meyer

Jonah was the son of Mr. & Mrs. Amittai. His name means “dove.” We know nothing about his lineage — he was not related to any king or prophets. He was just a regular Joe. (Bad pun intended.) At some indeterminate age, Jonah gets a call from God. God says, “Jonah, there’s something I want you to do in a city to the east.” Jonah gets on a boat going west. Jonah goes below deck and goes to sleep.

Jonah awakes in the middle of a huge storm that threatens the ship. Jonah knows that he has endangered the lives of the other passengers, so he jumps into the water, calming the sea. The big fish swallows him whole. Jonah spends days in the fish contemplating his life. It is there, in the dark depths, that he says one of the most beautiful prayers in the Bible. After he has lost all hope, he says I was deader than dead until I remembered you, God.

 

God talks to the fish and the fish delivers Jonah to Nineveh — a city as populated as New Delhi. Nineveh is where Jonah was told to go in the first place. Jonah walks for three days to the center of town and declares, “Hey, listen up! You all are not living the way you are supposed to be living — if only according to your own conscience.” The inhabitants of Nineveh declare a fast — they mourn their loss of idealism as though it were a lost loved one. They grieve for their own mortality. They weep for all not living the simple, joyful lives they knew they should be living. They cry for reasons hidden, but present deep in their hearts.

 

The King of Nineveh, when he hears of what his people are doing, joins in their fast and their mourning. And — in what must have been perceived as a bit of biblical humor — the people of Nineveh even dress their cattle in mourning clothes.

The Old Testiment story of Jonah serves as a reminder of the importance of repentance and forgiveness.​ 

 

Original Hebrew text in the Torah

Text in the Old Testament (NSRV)

Worship & Connect

Songs & Hymns

Following are a few options that work well in service, small group worship, or to listen to at home. For a more comprehensive selection, see the UUA list of Songbooks and Hymnals and the UUA List of Music for Online Worship. AUUMM also offers resources for UU music leaders. Please be responsible for respecting copyright as necessary. If you own the UU Hymnals and you're observing the day by yourself or with your family in your home, and not streaming online, you're most likely covered but check anyway. Besides legal requirements, we ask that you help support the artists. Note you must contact all individual artists directly for their permission to use their song/s. Being mentioned here as a suggestion does not constitute in any way permission to use their song/s.

Make Meaning

Selections that could be used in worship or at home.

  • Chalice Lighting (by Oberlin UU Fellowship via WorshipWeb)
    We light this chalice to find inner peace, love for each other, and faith in ourselves. Also, to be welcoming to whomever we meet and kind to all living creatures. So gather around this light of hope as we share this time together.

Deepen & Reflect

Join the 2023-2024 Common Read

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About the Common Read: "A UU Common Read creates community for learning and reflection, whether we gather in person or online. When we do a UU Common Read together, we share in reflection, learning, and action. A UU Common Read can take us on a powerful journey into what it means to be human and accountable in a world filled with both pain and joy." -uua.org/read

Overview of the 2023-2024 Common Read (from the UUA website): 

"This Common Read offers a glimpse into Judaism, one of our faith’s foundational sources, as we follow Rabbi Ruttenberg’s dive into prescriptions on accountability offered by the 12th century Jewish physician and scholar, Maimonides. The book unpacks Maimonides’ five-step process: owning the harm we have done, starting to change, making restitution and accepting consequences, apologizing, and going forward in life as a changed person who will make different choices.

Using Maimonides’ writings as a framework, Rabbi Ruttenberg points us toward modern day practices of repentance that can really make a difference in our personal, community, and broader societal relationships. As a UU Common Read selection, this book invites us to follow our own Unitarian Universalist faith into transformative atonement, whether a harm has been done with family or friends, within a congregation or other community, or by sweeping wrongs such as genocide and racial oppression."

Learn more at: uua.org/read/repentance-repair

Learn more about reparation movements

Covenant & Right Relations

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