Chalice of Mystery

By John Beverly Butcher, M. Div.

The people assemble at an agreed time in a quiet place in nature, a warm and friendly home, a church, or some other sacred space. A creative liturgist is responsible for guiding the people through the Liturgy of the Eucharist and enabling free, open, and natural participation by all who are present.

As the people gather, they will normally form a circle around a table, preferably one that is octagonal or round in shape. When there is a larger number of people, a series of concentric circles may form in a natural way around the table which serves as an Altar. On the altar is placed a large chalice of water containing an oil lamp or floating candle in the center.

This liturgy is a celebration of the Life and Wisdom Teachings of Jesus of Nazareth and Mary of Magdala. It reclaims the first century ritual of passing bread and three cups: first a cup of water, then a cup of milk and honey, and then a cup of wine. When a smaller group of participants chooses to use one chalice instead of three, then offer prayer for water, fill the cup and pass it around the circle until the cup is empty. Do the same with the milk and honey and then with the wine.

Liturgical celebrations are empowered by chanting Odes, singing songs, praying spontaneously, and releasing other outpourings of the Spirit. A Liturgist welcomes everyone to the celebration, and states clearly the purpose of this ritual: A Chalice of Mystery ritual is designed to enhance your awareness of Mystery by stimulating your imagination, arousing your senses, releasing your emotions, and awakening the Spirit. You are invited to celebrate this ritual with the intention of entering into Holy Union and becoming One Body. We begin by Lighting the Chalice, symbol of ourselves as open Chalices ready to be filled and ignited by the Fire of Mystery.
Lighting of the Chalice
Jesus says, “When you are near me, you are near the fire.” [Thomas 82]
An opening tone is sounded on a Tibetan bowl, Japanese bowl, or similar instrument, creating a sound conducive to centering.
One or more passages from sacred writings and a selection from one of the Gospels are read. Dialogue, song, dance, instrumental music, other art forms, and silence may be included.
Visualizing and Praying
In silence and aloud, focused attention is given to Mother Earth, the people of the earth, contemporary events around the planet, personal concerns, and individual needs. When desired, there may be praying with laying on of hands. A vessel of oil may be available for anointing for healing and for releasing the Holy Spirit.
Preparing the Table
Four People bring to the Altar: Bread and Three Chalices with cruets of water, milk and honey, and wine. All four face the Center.
Making Eucharist
The Eucharistic Prayer may be offered by two people, preferably a man and a woman, praying alternating paragraphs, or between men and women alternating.

Amazing Mystery, Pulsating Energy of the Universe!
You are Darkness and Light, You are Fullness and Emptiness, You are Known and Unknown, You are Silence and Voice, You are the Name of the Sound and the Sound of the Name.

You are the Mother and the Womb that gives shape to all.
You hide yourself in everyone and reveal yourself within them.
You move in every creature. You give life and take it away.
You shatter and You bring together. You are union and dissolution.
You are the Holy Mystery, hidden and revealed,
And we praise you as long as we have breath.
We praise you for Jesus, born of Mary and his Mother the Earth, baptized in the Jordan by John and coming out of the water laughing; driven into the wilderness by the Spirit and questioned by the Instructor; returning home to begin his Spirit filled ministry: gathering his students together, saying, “Come follow me.”

We praise You for Jesus and Mary Magdalene,
Companions on the Way of Mystery who know each other completely,
love each other devotedly, and kiss each other often;
who become Chalices on fire with your Holy Mystery:
practicing mindfulness, teaching wisdom and compassion,
communicating freely with all they meet, becoming catalysts of healing,
manifesting peace and justice,
knowing the fulness of the TAO,
living in movement and rest.

We praise you for Jesus who is true to the Spirit within him, who engages and confronts the Powers that Be:
who is arrested, tried, tortured, and crucified, who dies and returns to his Mother the Earth, who lives in all who allow the same Spirit to breathe through them.
In the Spirit of Jesus who shows us the Way of the TAO,
we offer as much as we know of ourselves to as much as we know of You.
Break the bonds that constrain us and set us free!
Take our minds, passions, emotions, and wills!
Call And Response
Amazing Mystery,
Pulsating Energy of the Universe!
In you we live and move and have our being
You are Mother, Father, Teacher, and Lover!
You are the TAO of ten thousand Names!
Make us your living chalices!
Empty us and rinse us out!
Fill us with all that You Are!
Energize and empower us!
Enlighten us and set us on fire!

You transform grain into bread and give us the Bread of Life!
Fill this Chalice and us with the flowing Water of Life!
Fill this Chalice and us with the Milk and Honey of Life!
Fill this Chalice and us with your transforming Life Force!

Jesus says, “When you drink from my mouth you will become like me; I myself shall become you, and the hidden things will be revealed to you.” G. Thomas 108

Bread and Chalices are passed around the Circle
Sharing the Peace
Jesus looks at his friends and says, “This is my Body.”
Embrace one another and say, “This is my Body.”
A liturgist leads a Call and Response

We are living Chalices of Holy Fire:
Practice Mindfulness…
Live Wisdom and Compassion…
Relate freely and openly with all you meet….
Become catalysts for healing…
Go in Peace and Justice…
Confront the Powers that be…
Know the Way of the TAO
Live In movement and rest…

Extinguish the Chalice