Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Chalice Boots

Some people get robes for graduation. We do things a little different down here in Texas.

"How many times are you going to say that?" teased Rev. Snazzy Lady.

Waaal, there mebbe 3 or 4 UUs still left that I haven't shown my boots to. After that, I'll stop, I promise.

The Husband knew what he wanted to get me for graduation for seminary, so he bundled me off to the boot store, where I made a million different choices to put together some custom boots.  Embedded in each is a flaming chalice.

Some UUs don't like the chalice, point to its recent history, question the myth surrounding it. That's all fine, to each their own.

I does mean something to me, perhaps due in part to being a parent who has raised my children as Unitarian Universalists. In our small congregation, it was a rite of passage when they were old enough to go forward and light the chalice. They've been taught the story of Hans Deutsch, the artist who created the original picture, and pushed into the frame of our front door is a chalice pin. It was, honestly, one of the first words Little Wren learned. I'd have her in my arms, fumbling for the keys, and she'd lean forward, touching it with her tiny finger. "Cha-ice," she would say. It was a touchstone; it meant that she was home.

It is a symbol, and the only meaning a symbol has is what we imbue it with. I've heard different meanings attached to the flaming chalice, and mostly, I like them all. Light of truth, flame of fellowship, eternal spirit of love ... When The Husband and I got married, the ceremony began with lighting a chalice. Every covenant group meeting I went to began with a chalice lighting. In the hospital, we took a mini prayer box from the BFF-DRE, with a little battery operated chalice inside. When LW was dedicated, she had 4 godmothers. They put their money together to get her a chalice necklace. Perhaps one day she'll hand it down to her child.

It symbolizes, to me, Unitarian Universalism, and tied all up in that is my identity as a Unitarian Universalist. I love my faith and I'm profoundly grateful that it exists.

Perhaps the simple meaning it held for my little one is the most significant. All the churches I've visited, or preached at, light a chalice at the beginning of worship. The faces may be unfamiliar, but still, I know I am home.

5 comments:

Sara said...

The boots are amazing! Very cool.

Valerie said...

The boots are lovely (we do that sorta thing up here in Alberta too) Even lovelier is the sentiment about the chalice. My favourite thing about it is that it is a symbol with room for many meanings. That flexibility is a touchstone of UU philosophy, so it makes sense our symbol reflects that.

plaidshoes said...

I keep meaning to write about how awesome those boots are! I love their symbolism and hope to see them in church!

Seeker of the Flaming Chalice said...

Thank you. This was beautiful! The boots are amazing. Makes me wish I had graduated in Texas. ;) And what you said about the chalice articulates so well how I feel about it. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

ditto.