“Giving and Receiving"
Small-Group Session (2 of 2)
“Giving and Receiving”
Small-Group Session (2 of 2)
Before the session starts, the leader should set chairs in a circle, with a chalice and matches on a small table in the middle, or somewhere visible to participants. Make sure the strips of paper for “Readings from the Common Bowl” are in the bowl. Welcome people, and allow folks to settle before lighting the chalice.
Chalice Lighting and Opening Words
The group leader lights the chalice (or asks someone else to) and then, with the intent of creating sacred space, reads the following words:
Spark of life,
We kindle our gratitude for the life we share in this circle.
Flame of justice,
We give thanks for the evolving vision of beloved community.
Open to the light of our faith and the light within each one,
We begin again.
Invite each person, in turn, to share a brief answer to the check-in question. The check-in question is: “Since we last met together, what gifts in your life have you noticed?”
Readings from the common bowl
The leader passes around the bowl, with strips of paper that have quotes on them. Invites each person to take one strip/quote out of the bowl. Then, invites each to read the quotes. They don’t have to read in order, one right next to the last one. But instead, invite them to allow some silence after every quote, and then to see if the quote they picked out of the bowl should go next or not. (See additional page for quotes; these are the quotes that will be torn into separate strips, and put in the bowl before the meeting)
After everyone has read the different statements, the leader asks the central question that will guide the session’s discussion: “What do you believe about giving and receiving?” You may need to give some examples: some believe that giving comes back to them, others believe it is their responsibility, etc.
Leader invites attendees to take no more than 2 minutes to share a response to the question. Find a way to gently hold the group to the no-more-than-2-minute limit. Also, let people know there’s no cross-talk to the responses: group-members don’t answer the statements people make. One person speaks for oneself, then the next person does the same. It’s not a conversation, so much as a series of statements. Again, each with some silence or space between. And, again, voices don’t need to go in order, with people sitting beside each other speaking—just as the spirit moves.
After hearing everyone’s statements, the leader invites the group to sit in silence for 2-3 minutes. This is not time for them to plan what they’ll say. It’s time to sit and be present, to let whatever comes up, come up.
Second round, reflections on what was heard, with additional thoughts
Whereas in the first round, attendees were encouraged to stick to their own thoughts, here in the second round, people can respond to some of what they heard. Again, encourage brevity—whether a formal 2-minute limit is enforced or not, encourage the conversation to move from one place to another in the circle, not getting dragged down to one or two voices who speak at length. It’s OK for people to respond to each other’s comments.
Likes and wishes
The leader asks for people to share, as they’re moved, what they liked about the session, and what they wish for next time, that they may or may not have experienced this time.
Closing Words & Extinguishing the Chalice
For the gift of wisdom shared in this time
We give thanks.
For the light that goes on long after the chalice is extinguished
We give thanks.
For the light within each,
We go forth with courage and love.
(Extinguish the chalice)
Quotes for The Common Bowl
“Until we can receive with an open heart, we're never really giving with an open heart. When we attach judgment to receiving help, we knowingly or unknowingly attach judgment to giving help.”
― Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are
“Gracious acceptance is an art - an art which most never bother to cultivate. We think that we have to learn how to give, but we forget about accepting things, which can be much harder than giving.... Accepting another person's gift is allowing him to express his feelings for you.”
― Alexander McCall Smith, Love Over Scotland
“And there’s also ‘To him that hath shall be given.’ After all, you must have a capacity to receive, or even omnipotence can’t give. Perhaps your own passion temporarily destroys the capacity.”
― C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed
“Giving does not only proceeds receiving; it is the reason for it. It is in giving that we receive.”
― Israelmore Ayivor
“Some say that "there is no such thing as free lunch". And, I ask, why not?
The joy of giving without expecting anything in return from a particular source is simply magic.”
― Ana Ortega
“The value of a man resides in what he gives and not in what he is capable of receiving.”
“Generally, about all perception, we can say that a sense is what has the power of receiving into itself the sensible forms of things without the matter, in the way in which a piece of wax takes on the impress of a signet ring without the iron or gold”
“You cannot live to please everyone else. You have to edify, educate and fulfill your own dreams and destiny, and hope that whatever your art is that you're putting out there, if it's received, great, I respect you for receiving it. If it's not received, great, I respect you for not.”
“Love is cheering and sharing and compassion and giving and receiving. Love is an action thing more than a word thing, that brings comfort or joy or relief to anyone or anything.”
“He who obtains has little. He who scatters has much.”