The flaming chalice takes many shapes.
As one travels to different congregations, one will find them tall, short, metal, wood, glass, narrow, and broad, or built of bricks and mortar and fueled with tinder and kindling.
The Flaming Chalice represents our history, taking its roots when Unitarianism in the United States was still a liberal Christian denomination, and represents our present as people add symbolism from their own theologies into our beloved community.
Our work as UUs in our congregations, on committees, in our communities, and this space, can be represented by the flaming chalice as well.
We never depict a chalice by itself. A chalice unlit is cold, empty. An unlit chalice desires a flame eternal. Flame provides heat. Flame provides light. The Flame is the good work we do, providing Warmth and Illumination in a world that can too often seem to leave us cold and alone.
The Chalice is the community we work in, whether it be on the streets of Detroit, the Boundless fields of Ohio, in our sanctuaries on Sunday morning, meeting rooms late into the night, and with those Gathered Here, in This Space, at This Time.
The Chalice is also the Offices we hold.
But as often as we speak of the chalice and the flame, we often overlooked the fuel. The chalice is the vessel, and the flame our good work. We are the oil, the candle, the logs. It is our efforts, our sacrifices, and the parts of our souls we put into our work that allows our flame to shine through the nights. There will be times when we are spent, and can no longer fuel the flame. We then fall back to being a part of the chalice, holding our companion travelers up as they burn bright and await our next rising, Phoenixes all, rising reborn from the ashes of all our good work gone before.