Because of the seemingly random interworkings of my schedule and the schedules of my fellow Worship Committee members, yesterday was my turn to do the chalice lighting at Denton UU. Most times when I do this – whether as part of a service I’m leading or in support of our minister or another service leader – I find a short poem that more or less fits the theme of the service, ideally (but not always) from a Pagan or Nature-centered perspective.
For the first Sunday service after an election many of our members and friends found deeply disturbing, I knew something out of a book wouldn’t do. Perhaps the blog post a couple weeks ago on King Arthur was still in the back of my mind, because the first thing that occurred to me was the connection between the chalice and the Holy Grail, and from the Holy Grail back to the chalices and cauldrons of our ancestors.
Writing is usually a slow process for me. This came together almost immediately. As much as I’d like to take credit for it, it’s simply what happens when the Awen starts flowing and we’re open to it.
Our UU flaming chalice began as the logo of the Unitarian Service Committee, which helped help Jews and others escape the reaches of the Nazis during World War II. It is reminiscent of the Holy Grail of Arthurian legend, the scrying chalice of the Greek Pythia, the Cauldron of Cerridwen, and the Cauldron of the Dagda.
We light this chalice today in the legacy of all these vessels of service and transformation; to recommit ourselves to the ideals of justice, equity, and compassion in human relations; and in solidarity with those who are anxious, vulnerable, and oppressed throughout the land and throughout the world.
Let there be light. Let us be the light.
This chalice lighting was written by John Beckett for the Denton Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, November 13, 2016. Feel free to share and use this in your own services, with attribution.