Buddha was a man who embarked on the search for truth and experienced enlightenment. Buddhism is a faith with an emphasis on each individual looking at and thinking about our own lives. Buddhism shows us how to understand ourselves and how to cope with our daily problems. Buddha believed that all the sorrow of the world was caused by selfishness. He believed the secret to life is love. The book, Timeless Tales Volume 1, share these delightful Zen stories.
Jesus used stories to teach life lessons. Explore some of Jesus’s parables in our workbook Nature Parables of Jesus. In the parables, we are not necessarily instructed by Jesus, but instead invited to explore life through his eyes and stand with him to understand what the simple stories reveal. Parables to teach life lessons are found in every religion.
As most children know, not everyone celebrates Christmas. But, the story of Jesus's birth, Mary's clarity of faith and the demonstration that all things are possible is important for all. Use this Universal version of Jesus's Birth with your children of all faiths.
The Story Of Jesus's Birth
God sent the angel Gabriel to visit Mary in the city of Nazareth in Galilee. Mary was a young woman who was engaged to marry Joseph, a carpenter of Nazareth.
An angel spoke to Mary and told her, “The Lord is with you, and you are greatly favored.” Mary was troubled. She did not know what he angel meant. Then he said, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have favor with God. You will have a son and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great. He will be a king who will rule forever.”
One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all. And sixty cents of it was in pennies. Pennies saved one and two at a time by bulldozing the grocer and the vegetable man and the butcher until one's cheeks burned with the silent imputation of parsimony that such close dealing implied. Three times Della counted it. One dollar and eighty- seven cents. And the next day would be Christmas.
Preparing for Christmas: Like many Christmas traditions, the Advent wreath is pagan in origin. Many churches light a candle each Sunday during the four weeks leading to Christmas. Some families make their own Advent wreaths to light at home.
Origin: It is not known when the first Advent wreath was created. Pagan rituals often included lighting candles in a wreath to signify hope for the return of the sun in the midst of winter. In the Middle Ages, Christians borrowed this ancient custom and incorporated it into the celebration of Christmas.
Wreath: The Advent wreath is made of evergreen boughs, symbolizing everlasting life. The circle represents the continuous love of God, with no beginning and no end, as well as the soul's immortality.
Candle Colors: Each of the four colored candles in the Advent wreath represents a week leading to Christmas. Traditionally, three of the candles are purple, and one is pink. The final candle is white and is located in the center of the wreath. It is lit on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.
November's stories come from the Sahih al-Bukari. This collection is one of the six major ‘hadiths’, the stories denoting the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad in Sunni Islam. The hadith is generally accepted by Muslims as a secondary source of Islamic law after the Qur’an. These prophetic traditions were collected by a Muslim scholar after being transmitted orally for generations. Find Craft Directions Here
Giant Ship Engine that Failed
The following is an incident about an engine failure in a giant ship. The ship's owners tried one expert after another, but none of them could figure but how to fix the engine. Then they brought in an old man who had been fixing ships since he was a youngster. He carried a large bag of tools with him, and when he arrived, he immediately went to work. He inspected the engine very carefully, top to bottom.
Two of the ship's owners were there, watching this man, hoping he would know what to do. After looking things over, the old man reached into his bag and pulled out a small hammer. He gently tapped something. Instantly, the engine lurched into life He carefully put his hammer away. The engine was fixed! A week later, the owners received a bill from the old man for ten thousand dollars.
"What?!" the owners exclaimed. "He hardly did anything!"
So they wrote the old man a note saying, "Please send us an itemized bill."
The man sent a bill that read:
Tapping with a hammer $ 2.00
Knowing where to tap $ 9998.00
Effort is important, but knowing where to make an effort in your life makes all the difference.
Last Sunday, the Teens & Tweens using The Golden Thread Of Truth program studied the work of Dr Masaru Emoto. We have such great gratitude for his discoveries and pay our respect on his passing on October 17th. In Youth Church, we rejoiced in "Music: The Sound of Spirit" and how Dr. Emoto revealed Spirit through his pictures. Thank you. You will be missed.
The Jewish religion celebrates The Festival of Sukkot to commemorate the forty-year period during which the children of Israel were wandering in the desert, living in temporary shelters made out of dry palms and branches. Throughout the holiday, meals are eaten inside the sukkah the Jewish families have built outside their homes each year and some people sleep there as well. The sukkah is reminiscence these fragile dwellings the Jewish people after their freedom from slavery in Egypt before they reached the Promised Land of Israel. Symbols from the past can help us remember what our ancestors did to gain our freedom.
In honor of Yom Kipper, below is the story of Johan and the Whale. In Judaism, it is common to share the story of Jonah and the Whale during the afternoon since the story shares of God’s willingness to forgive those who repent. The book of Jonah in the Torah is different from the other books because it is completely a narrative of Jonah’s adventure. Jonah is also mentioned in the Bible, the Qur’an and by Mohammad. To get craft instructions, visit our Craft Page!
Jonah and the Whale
Jonah was a prophet. One day God asked Jonah to go to a place called Ninevah and tell the people living there to live with knowing God in their hearts. But, Jonah did not want to help the people there so he ran away and got on a ship sailing across the Mediterranean Sea. Shortly after the boat left shore, there was a very large storm. Jonah was just sleeping in the bottom of the boat. Then the sea got rougher and it became a larger storm and the storm washed water over the boat and tossed the board up in the air. The sailors were afraid but Jonah knew what to do. He said “the sea is very rough because I have disobeyed God. Throw me overboard and you will live.” But they did not want Jonah to die. “It is the only way,” said Jonah. So, the sailors threw him over the side of a ship. But what was outside the boat? A great big whale. This whale saw Jonah and swallowed him whole. Jonah was in the belly of the whale for three full days and three full nights.
Just think for a second what it would be like to be inside of a fish. There are no windows, and lots of strange things floating around that you can’t see because it is so dark. Other than that, I’m not sure what it would be like, but Jonah probably didn’t know if he would ever see daylight again.
While he was in the whale, he thought about God, and what he had done, and knew that he had not been doing his best. He knew that he had to do what was best for himself and the people of Ninevah. He thought about how he has run away. He was grateful that he did not drown. God forgave Jonah and the whale spit Jonah out onto the land and the whale swam away. Jonah was happy to be out of the dark belly of the fish, but boy, did he need a shower. He was slimy and smelly.
So Jonah went to the town of Ninevah and told the people that they needed to understand that they needed to do the right thing. Jonah was happy that the people listened to him and they were grateful to God and sorry for the bad things they had done. Everyone knew that god loved them and their city would not be destroyed.
Last night, my 10 year old had trouble going to sleep and, while my older son and husband slept, he and I shared one of those precious, unforgettable moments. Now that they are older, they read stories on their own of Hogwarts and Berk. But, last night was a throw-back to earlier days as we snuggled together and I shared the stories. And, I was reminded why this work is so important to me.
Every one of the stories we shared concluded with a wide eyed instance of surprise and understanding from my son. The Emperor and the Seed (Muslim), How the Fly Saved the River (Native American). Watching his real time realization of the message in the story touched my heart.
I just compiled 19 of my family's favorite "The Golden Thread Of Truth" stories from Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Native American, Buddhist, Zen and Tao teachings in downloadable format for you to share with your children and grandchildren. Enjoy! Download Here
Tonight at sunset, Rosh Hashanah begins. It is a celebration of the Jewish New Year. This lesson will focus on the shofar, a simple horn that is used to celebrate the start of a new year and symbolizes the remembrance to live a good life.
Shofar in the High Seas
Even on the high seas, the Shofar reveals the greatness of God…
A great and saintly Rabbi was once aboard a ship, together with two of his disciples. Rosh Hashanah drew near and land was not in sight yet. So the Rabbi and his disciples prepared to spend the Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah on the High Seas.
On the night of Rosh Hashanah a terrific storm broke out. The ship was tossed about by the huge waves and was in grave danger of breaking up. The big waves swept over the ship again and again, flooding it from bow to stern. The sailors worked hard to bale the water out, until they had no strength left in them. It seemed only a matter of time before the ship would sink, unless the storm passed immediately.
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Overview: This month we are studying Philosophers from different religions, countries and faiths who have all had an impact on humanity’s thinking. Even though they lived many years apart, in different parts of the world, they each shared the knowledge of the importance of love and wisdom. Confucius’s focus on self-improvement was radical for his day. Aristotle was revered by Muslim intellectuals and profoundly influenced Judeo-Islamic philosophical and theological thought during the Middle Ages and continues to influence Christian theology, especially the scholastic tradition of the Catholic Church. al-Farabi was a leader in the Islamic Golden Age and taught how we all must work together. King Solomon taught that the best decisions are made with our heart, not our head.
Week #1: Confucius
Main Message: Confucius is the most important person in the history of Chinese philosophy. He was born in 551 BC in China and strove to bring order and justice to his country. His focus was on how men should be educated to live and work with others in society. Confucius’s teachings focused around a primary thread through all wisdom: “Do not impose upon others what you do not want for yourself.” Confucius believed we are all good but can move away from our innate goodness. Our job is to find our way back to that peace and harmony within ourselves. Once we have harmony and peace within ourselves, we can establish peace and harmony in the world. Confucius’s focus on self-improvement was radical for his day. He wanted to lead others to a peaceful society that was grounded from a place where all men (people) lived in peace.
Week #2:Aristotle - The First Teacher
• Aristotle is one of the most influential people who ever lived. Aristotle believed all peoples' concepts and all of their knowledge was ultimately based on perception. In metaphysics, Aristotelianism profoundly influenced Judeo-Islamic philosophical and theological thought during the Middle Ages and continues to influence Christian theology, especially the scholastic tradition of the Catholic Church. Aristotle was well known among medieval Muslim intellectuals and revered as "The First Teacher”. Aristotle showed us that the potential for each of us can be envisioned from whatever our form or circumstance is current today. It is our perception of that possibility that has the greatest influence on the outcome.
◦ We can create any life we want
◦ Our perception of events changes with each new experience
Week #3: al-Farabi - The Second Master
Main Message: Al-Farabi was born around 872AD and was a philosopher and scientist. He was renowned during the Islamic Golden Age where ‘the ink of a scholar is more holy than the blood of a martyr’. He studied with Christian and other philosophers of the time. He loved music and poetry. His greatest work was “The Virtuous City”. Al-Farabi was known to the Arabs as the 'Second Master' (after Aristotle). He may rightly be acclaimed as one of the greatest of Islamic philosophers of all time. Al-Farabi taught that working with one another, with each of us in alignment with our greatest good, was the focus for happiness. Working within your community and neighborhood, sharing your gifts and appreciating and enabling the gifts of others, will make the best life for everyone.
Week #4: Solomon - The King of Israel
Main Message: Solomon was King of Israel and stories of his wisdom are present in the Bible, the Torah and the Qur’an. He was born around 970 BC and the Hebrew Bible credits Solomon as the builder of the First Temple in Jerusalem and portrays him as great in wisdom, wealth, and power. Solomon was known for the truths and insights he revealed through his acts. His power came not from bullying or force but from understanding that true wisdom comes not from the head but from the heart.
Hinduism is ripe with stories that have been told through the generations to teach the basic truth of our oneness with God and the search for God within each of us. This month, we use the stories of the celestial entities, or gods, from the ancient texts to teach these truths. Note: The term “gods” do not indicate that there are several gods that are worshipped by Hindus. They call the Supreme Being, Brahman, which is that all reality and truth which we discover within ourselves. Get the complete curriculum here.
Week #1: Saraswati: Divine Consciousness
Saraswati celebrates the free flow of Wisdom and Consciousness. In Hinduism, Saraswati represents intelligence, consciousness, cosmic knowledge, creativity, education, enlightenment, music, the arts, eloquence and power.
Week #2: Ganesh: Teacher with the Elephant Head
Ganesh is the most popular statue in India. The Hindus have many stories about Ganesh that are shared with their families. Over the centuries, some of the stories have varied but Ganesh is always shown with an elephant’s head and one tusk. Ganesh is often shown riding with a rat or with a rat as his feet. These symbolize wisdom and overcoming adversity. Each Hindu home has a statue of Genesh as he represents success and removal of adversity.
Week #3: Vishnu and Laxmi: Bringing Good Luck
The Hindu mythology continues with the marriage of Lord Vishnu and Goddess Laxmi. Both provide us with protection and channels for enhancing our lives. Vishnu is the protector of all mankind and represents creation. Laxmi is the goddess of wealth. They are both connected with the lotus flower. The lotus represents our awakening to the spiritual reality of life. Vishnu and Laxmi statues are present in homes and businesses and bring good luck and abundance.
Week #4: Shiva: God of Transformation
Shiva represents fortune, goodness, favor and promise. Hindus practice rituals symbolizing spiritual knowledge, purity and penance (the spiritual practice of Yoga). Yoga is integral to the Hindu way of life and promotes self-contemplation, good physical health and good mental health. Shiva is sometimes called the Auspicious One. He is the god of fortune, goodness, favor and promise.
Metaphysically, the story of Easter is the story of renewal...
Springtime is a time of renewal - of making old things new again. Many religious traditions celebrate holidays about renewal at this time of year. One of the biggest spring celebrations is Easter. Easter comes from the Christian religion, and celebrates the renewal Jesus experienced himself and taught about. Jesus was a wise teacher who shows us that all of us can renew our lives all the time, which lets us grow more and more magnificent.
During the Spring, we see renewal in the plants, animals, trees, all around us. This renewal comes every year, without fail. Just as the world renews and grows, you can have confidence in your growth. You can have confidence in the growth you see in the world around you. This month we are going to focus on the Easter season and how renewal happens in every part of life.
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