Chalica: Reflecting On Our Principles

Order of Service and Readings from December 14, 2014



Opening (read together):

Love is the spirit of this church

And service its law.

This is our great covenant:

To dwell together in peace,

To seek the truth in love

And to help one another.

-James Blake


Chalice Lighting:

Blessed is the fire that burns deep in the soul. It is the flame of the human spirit touched into being by the mystery of life. It is the fire of reason; the fire of compassion; the fire of community; the fire of justice; the fire of faith. It is the fire of love burning deep in the human heart; the divine glow in every life.

- Eric A. Heller-Wagner


Joys and Concerns


Chalica 101


Chalica is a week-long celebration of our Unitarian Universalist Principles. The holiday first emerged in 2005 out of a wish to have a holiday organized around UU values.


Chalica begins on the first Monday in December and lasts seven days. Each day, a chalice is lit and the day is spent reflecting on the meaning of that day’s principle and doing a good deed that honors that principle. [from]


Song: 7 Principles Song


The First Principle (read together):

We light our chalice for the inherent worth and dignity of every person.


Reading: Rev. Victoria Weinstein


Practicing Inherent Worth and Dignity: Keeping It Real With The First Principle - To make our first principle into a spiritual practice requires us to honestly acknowledge that we have been programmed by our society to treasure and cherish certain kinds of people over others, and to see only a select few as bearing as much worth, value and dignity as we ourselves have.  The rest, we have been trained by many forces, to regard as Other.  We are either afraid of that Other, or we feel superior to that Other, or  -- almost as bad – we have learned to feel a kind of privileged pity or charity toward those Others…. It would not be enough.  It is not enough for this religious tradition or any other to simply try to have the right, virtuous thoughts and feelings.  Something more is asked of us, and the name for that something more is love -- that enormous, demanding, divine idea that asks us not only to feel virtuous things but to shape our actions around those feelings.  The poet Rilke says that "human love consists in this: that two solitudes protect and border and greet each other."  Isn't that beautiful.  That gives us a clear idea of what we are supposed to do, not just to feel; we are to protect and border and greet each other.


The Second Principle (read together):

We light our chalice for justice, equity, and compassion in human relations.


Reading: Mother Theresa


Love cannot remain by itself—it has no meaning,

Love has to be put into action and that action is service.

Whatever form we are, able or disabled, rich or poor,

It is not how much we do,

But how much love we put in the doing;

A lifelong sharing of love with others. 


The Third Principle (read together):

We light our chalice for acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations.


Reading: Rev. Rob Hardies


“Spiritual growth isn’t about a vertical ascent to heaven but about growth in every dimension at once. It’s spirituality in 3-D. Growth in spirit doesn’t measure one’s proximity to a God above, but rather the spaciousness of one’s own soul—its volume, its capacity, its size.

“We need souls that can take in the world in all its complexity and diversity, yet still maintain our integrity. And we need souls that can love and be in relationship with all of this complexity. Instead of flight or flight, we need a spiritual posture of embrace…. Unitarian Universalism’s third Principle sets before us a vision of our congregations as communities where spacious souls can flourish and grow.”


Song: How Could Anyone Ever Tell You


The Fourth Principle (read together):

We light our chalice for a free and responsible search for truth and meaning.


Reading: Albert Einstein


"The important thing is not to stop questioning; curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but to be in awe when contemplating the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. The important thing is not to stop questioning; never lose a holy curiosity."


The Fifth Principle (read together):

We light our chalice for the right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large.


Reading: Adlai Stevenson


"I think that one of our most important tasks is to convince ourselves and others that there's nothing to fear in difference; that difference, in fact, is one of the healthiest and most invigorating of human characteristics without which life would become meaningless. Here lies the power of the liberal way: not in making the whole world Unitarian (Universalist), but in helping ourselves and others to see some of the possibilities inherent in viewpoints other than one's own; in encouraging the free interchange of ideas; in welcoming fresh approaches to the problems of life; in urging the fullest, most vigorous use of critical self-examination."


The Sixth Principle (read together):

We light our chalice for the goal of world peace, liberty and justice for all.


Readings: Marilyn Hromatko; Paolo Friere


"At one time we used to say and believe, 'Give me a fish and I eat for a day; teach me to fish and I eat for a lifetime.' We know now this isn't enough; we must also make room at the pond. There are still those people in the world whose only hope is that we the powerful will be humble and merciful and just." Marilyn Hromatko


"Because love is an act of courage, not of fear, love is commitment to other men and women. No matter where the oppressed are found, the act of love is commitment to their cause, the cause of liberation. As an act of bravery, love cannot be sentimental; as an act of freedom, it must not serve as a pretext for manipulation. It must generate other acts of freedom; otherwise it is not love."      P. Freire


The Seventh Principle (read together):

We light our chalice for respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.


Reading: Robert T. Weston


“The Web of Life”

Robert T. Weston

Also appropriate as

There is a living web that runs through us

To all the universe

Linking us each with each and through all life

On to the distant stars.

Each knows a little corner of the world, and lives

As if this were his all.

We no more see the farther reaches of the threads

Than we see of the future, yet they’re there.

Touch but one thread, no matter which;

The thoughtful eye may trace to distant lands

Its firm continuing strand, yet lose its filaments as they reach out,

But find at last it coming back to him from whom it led.

We move as in a fog, aware of self

But only dimly conscious of the rest

As they are close to us in sight or feeling.

New objects loom up for a time, fade in and out;

Then, sometimes, as we look on unawares, the fog lifts

And then there’s the web in shimmering beauty,

Reaching past all horizons. We catch our breath;

Stretch out our eager hands, and then

In comes the fog again, and we go on,

Feeling a little foolish, doubting what we had seen.

The hands were right. The web is real.

Our folly is that we so soon forget.


Song: Blue Boat Home


Reflection and Discussion: Living Our Principles


Song: This Little Light of Mine


Extinguishing the Chalice (read together):

Mindful of our highest aspirations,

Bound by common faith and purpose,

And, yet, beginning with ourselves as we are,

Let us take one more step, together,

In our unending quest for dignity, justice and love.

  • Rebecca A. Edmiston-Lange