Your support is helping expand Progressive Christianity. We are one of the largest sources for progressive theological perspectives, as well as our thousands of resources. It is hard to overstate their value – every time you donate it expands our ability to do all those essential offerings even better. DONATE NOW!

A Joyful Path, Year Three – Week 13: My Unique Gift — Story: I Am A Water Keeper!

For Classroom or Home School

 

 

Week 13: Winter

Lesson 11: My Unique Gift

I have a unique gift to offer this world. undeniably true.

Getting to the Heart of the Lesson

In a world bustling with people, it can be a challenge to believe each of us holds an important piece of the grand plan. On the other hand, how can it be otherwise? In God’s Creation, we all are ordinary and extraordinary! This lesson lives in that paradox.

Social pressures can create anxiety around, “finding our life’s purpose.” This lesson is not about that. Instead, this lesson is about inviting your students to rest into the things they love and to begin to understand these things as ways Divinity sees and affirms us as we are doing true and right work in the world. Environmental entrepreneur and Buddhist practitioner Paul Hawken says it like this,

Instead of trying to be responsible for all the problems of the world, we should take on what we love and care about. Then we honor both our inner world and the outer world at the same time. There is no separation between the two, and there is no hesitation, no self-doubt. This will help us develop great faith that others are taking care of their piece.

There is a deep spirituality and trust in this “inner-outer” perspective. The Wisdom Quotes this week illustrate the faithfulness people have held, across professions and belief systems, about doing the work we are called to do, even when it is not the work that provides their salary. It is very important that our young people begin to appreciate this teaching while they are somewhat away from the fray of the marketplace and the day-to-day logistics of survival. By listening deeply for their calling – inwardly and outwardly – our next generation will move toward the spaces where they can utilize the gifts that are uniquely theirs. Their lives will be happier, and the health

(NOTE: If you wish to make this week’s lesson more intentionally focused on Advent, please see Activity/Exploration 2 below.)

Teacher Reflection/Activity

Some reading and a 10-20 min exercise (more if you have time and wish to take it) so you are able to experience the teachings offered through this lesson)

Read through the Wisdom Quotes below. Then select the option below that feels best for you.

Option One — Are you living from your gifts? Are you moving from the awareness of what you love and allowing your passion to be of service? If you are, then this week is about expressing your gratitude. It is a wonderful thing to feel connected with our gifts and to be giving and living from this knowledge. Do something this week to express your gratitude for the alignment you feel.

Option Two — If you want more clarity about your gifts and sharing them in the world, make time for yourself this week. Really. Indulge….not in busyness, but in the deep listening that reveals secrets for us. We typically hear these divine whispers best when we are engaging in the things that bring flow and fresh ideas to the forefront. Here are some examples:

  • An exercise routine, hike or yoga class that shifts your awareness
  • Journaling, knitting, writing poetry, gardening, taking a bath
  • Book a session with your spiritual director, draw a divination card, ask the Divine for a clear dream
  • If you are celebrating Advent (which means “coming”), how might you embrace this season as a time of anticipation? Perhaps your unique gift, like Jesus’s birth, is still in formation – preparing to be revealed in a new way. How will you welcome it? How does this season invite you to generously share your gift?

    As you become more grounded in the gifts that reside inside you, envision three places where, over the next month, you will shine your light and lean in fully! Meditate, pray or invoke the spiritual support and guidance you need to make it so.

    Read through the lesson before your time with the children. Decide which Activity Exploration will work best for your class (There are usually two options; choose one.) Just below the heading, “Children’s Lesson and Story” you will find the preparations checklist for this lesson so you can collect any needed materials or make arrangements to support your selected activity.

    Sacred Text Quotes

    Christian Scriptures. Romans 12:4-8 (NRSV)

    For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching; the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness.

    Christian Scriptures. Luke 1:35-38 (NRSV)

    *Especially appropriate for Activity Two
    The angel said to Mary, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.” Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.

    African Traditions (Nigeria). Igbo Proverb

    God gives each person a hook with which to pluck his fruit.

    Wisdom Quotes

    The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet. ― Frederick Buechner

    There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique, and if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium; and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is, not how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. ― Martha Graham

    You rarely have time for everything you want in this life, so you need to make choices. And hopefully your choices can come from a deep sense of who you are. ― the Rev. Fred Rogers

    Before I can tell my life what I want to do with it, I must listen to my life telling me who I am.” ― Parker J. Palmer

    For each one of us, there is only one thing necessary: to fulfill our own destiny, according to God’s will, to be what God wants us to be…. Discovering vocation does not mean scrambling toward some prize just beyond my reach but accepting the treasure of true self I already possess. Vocation does not come from a voice out there calling me to be something I am not. It comes from a voice in here calling me to be the person I was born to be, to fulfill the original selfhood given me at birth by God. ― Thomas Merton

    Be sure to click here to download the Teaching Introduction and Instructions.

Review & Commentary