After leading a worship service about prayer, I was inspired by a congregant to think about developing a UU prayer bead practice. A quick google search reveals we are not the first to think about such things:
- Erik Walker Wikstrom describes a UU prayer bead practice in his “Spirit in Practice” curriculum for the UUA.
- Alice Anachecka-Naseman and Elisa Pearmain describe how children can make UU prayer beads in their “Moral Tales Updated” curriculum for the UUA. There is also a “taking it home” reflection.
- Karen Deal Robinson’s description of Erik Walker Wikstrom’s prayer beads and her prayer practice with them.
- Karen Deal Robinson also describes her joys and concerns rosary.
My impulse was to create beads with six sections: one for each of our sources. And I envision a chant cycle for each section. We could chant each one seven times (for the seven principles), or I am open to some other magical UU-related number.
- Direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder, affirmed in all cultures, which moves us to a renewal of the spirit and an openness to the forces which create and uphold life
- Chant: Where do we come from? (#1003 in Singing the Journey)
- Words and deeds of prophetic women and men which challenge us to confront powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion, and the transforming power of love
- Chant: Gathered Here (#389 in Singing the Living Tradition)
- Wisdom from the world’s religions which inspires us in our ethical and spiritual life
- Chant: Come, Come, Whoever You Are (#188 in Singing the Living Tradition)
- Jewish and Christian teachings which call us to respond to God’s love by loving our neighbors as ourselves
- Chant: Ubi Caritas (#1048 in Singing the Journey)
- Humanist teachings which counsel us to heed the guidance of reason and the results of science, and warn us against idolatries of the mind and spirit
- Chant: From You I Receive (#402 in Singing the Living Tradition)
- Spiritual teachings of earth-centered traditions which celebrate the sacred circle of life and instruct us to live in harmony with the rhythms of nature
- Chant: The Earth, Water, Fire, Air (#387 in Singing the Living Tradition)
But of course, if you just want to run out and buy some UU prayer beads, it looks like you can!