The funeral of George Harrison Shaver was on March 3, 2009. It seemed fitting that exactly one year later a chalice was purchased from his memorial fund. The last thing I spoke of at George’s funeral sermon was communion. One Sunday I had gone to commune George at the back of the church unsure of whether or not he had already come to the altar. When I came to him he said, “I’m an old Methodist you know, I think once a Sunday will do.”
Over the course of the last year I had been looking for chalices after the Shaver family decided to choose this item from our memorial list. A chalice memorial had been established several years previous after our silver plating company recommended that we think about replacing our old chalice. The George Shaver family wished to purchase a high-quality cup that portrayed the symbols of our faith.
The cup chosen was first found on internet auction (EBay) and then approved by the Altar Guild for purchase. The chalice is made of sterling silver which is a durable and long lasting metal. The base of the cup includes silverwork picturing grapes and grape leaves. This reminds us of how the Lord’s Supper was instituted with wine. Jesus also said, “I am the vine, you are the branches.” (John 15:5) In Holy Communion we are united with Christ Jesus and receive the life giving food which flows from His death.
The node of the chalice (the “bump” in the middle of the stem) is inset with six purple glass
“stones.” Purple is the color of royalty and reminds us of repentance and the season of Lent.
Jesus wore a purple robe during his trial before Pontius Pilate. We come to Holy Communion in
repentance for our sins to receive forgiveness from our King.
The base of the chalice is curved and separated into six different sections. Each part contains a different Christian picture. Four of the sections contain the four persons who wrote the four Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Their symbols are the man, the lion, ox, and eagle, all with wings. These four Gospel writers recorded Jesus’ words about the Lord’s Supper. The other two sections contain a picture of Jesus crucifixion and a depiction of His ascension into heaven. In Holy Communion we receive the fruits of Jesus cross and await His return when He comes again in glory. He will never leave us or forsake us.
Four small flowers are found on the chalice below the node. The holly has thorny prickles and symbolizes the crown of thorns that Jesus wore. The three-leafed clover is used in Christian art to represent the three persons of the Holy Trinity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The rose contains God’s promise in Isaiah 35 that He would send a Savior who would be like a rose that bloomed in the wilderness. The color of the rose pictures the blood that Jesus shed. The iris is a sign of purity, and pictures, with its sword shaped leaves, the pierced side of Christ. In Holy Communion the blood of Christ flows forth giving us His purity.
Our “new” cup-of-the-Lord was consecrated at the Maundy Thursday service. On the day when our Lord instituted the Celebration of Holy Communion we blessed this chalice for our use. The Lord Almighty bless this chalice and all who receive the life-giving Sacrament from it!