Chalica is a season that ties what we do in our spirituality, learning and work for social justice at UUCC. It ties our community together with our households and families with a ritual of candle lighting that allows us to reflect on the principles that inform Unitarian Universalism. While some UU congregations celebrate this in December over a week, at UUCC we extend it through the winter months, over eight weeks. At home, a time is set aside when families gather to light a candle for that week, to reflect on the principle and to consider how we make it real in our day to day lives. When we gather for worship, we are all invited to reflect on how our community at UUCC embodies the principles.
This year, we include a new principle that is being considered by the UU Association that asks us to confront systems of oppression and foster diverse communities.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
Martin Luther King Jr.
Within us all burns the fire of life. We share this common flame, symbol of our precious being. Each flame burns with a unique glow, signifying our respect for the inherent worth and dignity of every person.
Family Discussion Questions
If you watched the service on Sunday, talk with your family about the “labels” that Rev. Randy brought up in his message. How do these tend to stick to ourselves and other people in our day to day experience?
Some people we like more than others, how can we recognize and respect the worth and dignity of every person even if we don’t like them?
Think of someone in your life you interact with but don’t know well––your mail person, someone at the grocery store, someone who does things at your home like mows the lawn or shovels snow. Its easy to get into the habit of not seeing such people for the whole and complete persons they are. What ways might you change your interactions with these people? Are there any special ways in which you might affirm their worth and dignity in a more concrete way?
“Justice has always evoked ideas of equality, of proportion of compensation. Equity signifies equality. Rules and regulations, right and righteousness are concerned with equality in value… If all men [sic] are equal, then all men are of the same essence, and the common essence entitles them of the same fundamental rights and equal liberty… In short justice is another name of liberty, equality and fraternity.”
Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar
Fire cannot be grasped, or held within the hand. Fire is transparent, giving light and warmth to all. As we light this chalice, let us kindle within ourselves and our fellowship. A shared fire that illuminates us to share warmth and light with the world.
Family Discussion Questions
Watch this TED talk by Joan Halifax: Compassion and the true meaning of empathy. Then, with your family or with some friends, discuss the ideas you’ve heard.
As you go through your week, make note of times and occasions where you could have brought more compassion into the world in an everyday situation.
Identify an individual or location where lack of empathy is having a particularly egregious effect (e.g., a homeless person whom you frequently see on your commutes). With your family or friends, come up with a plan to address the need and bring empathy into the situation.
“Birds make great sky-circles of their freedom.
How do they learn it?
They fall and falling,
they’re given wings.”
“For Estefani, Third Grade, Who Made Me a Card”
By Aracelis Girmay, read by the author and animated by TedX
This chalice is a lighthouse, a beacon reaching across the vast spaces.
This flame beckons all travelers, come, enter, and be welcome.
Join us on our mutual quest.
Think about your close friends and family—people who you love and who you talk to regularly.
Plan out a way you might reach out to/connect with/contact each of these people and what either words, piece of media (a song, a poem, a piece of art, etc.) or personal message might encourage them.
Think about what you might send in a different way than other kinds of ways you might be in touch. This isn’t about conveying that you care for them, or reminding them you are there for them. What is going on in their lives? What are their struggles? What is it that you know about each of these people that could help you to encourage them, uplift them, and spur them on in good ways?
Let us fight to free the world! To do away with national barriers! To do away with greed, with hate and intolerance! Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness… In the name of democracy, let us all unite!
– Charlie Chaplin
Our chalice is a lamp, lighting dark corners of ignorance; illuminating falsehoods.
We hold this sacred lamp, applying knowledge with care and abiding purpose.