Ironicschmoozer’s Weblog

Service of Remembrance for those lost to anti-gay violence — (chalice lighting words)

Sunday, November 7, 2010, 4:00 PM

Words for Lighting of the Unitarian Universalist Chalice

PFLAG Service of Remembrance for People Lost to Violence

against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Persons

St. John’s Lutheran Church, Sacramento.  See photos here.

Good afternoon.  I serve as one of the ministers of one of several Unitarian Universalist congregations in this region.

Our contributions today include the song we’ll hear from the men’s chorus later on, “Everything Possible.”  It was written by singer Fred Small, many years before he began to study for the ministry and seek ordination as a UU minister.   Now he serves our  congregation at the First Parish of Cambridge, Masschusetts.

Our visual contribution today is this lamp in the form of a chalice, which we use every Sunday morning at the congregation I serve on Sierra Boulevard.  Almost every Unitarian Universalist worship service these days will begin with words of reflection or invocation, and the kindling of our flaming chalice.

For our faith tradition, the symbol of the flaming chalice goes back to the 1940s, to a time of danger and oppression in Europe.  Relief workers of the Unitarian Service Committee assisted many refugees from the Nazi persecutions.

One of those rescued refugees was Hans Deutsch.  After his own escape, he joined the Service Committee.  He designed the symbol of a flaming chalice to be worn by his fellow rescue workers, so they might be easily indentified by those at risk, so they might be recognized as friends by those in flight from violence and persecution.

For this afternoon’s service, I light the chalice in grateful recognition of the compassion and courage which lead human beings to create safe spaces for other human beings.  I light it in thanksgiving for those who offer protection and care to all who suffer from fear and persecution.

Let the flame remind us of the moral duty and the sacred calling to guard the dignity and worth of every member of the human family.  Let it remind us of the blessings of safety, hospitality and healing.

As I light the chalice flame for this interfaith worship service, may we call forth all the good will of humanity.

Let us bring into this sanctuary the world’s longing for love and respect, for tenderness and understanding, for freedom and peace.  So may it be.


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