International Council of Unitarians and Universalists

July 2016

ICUU announces the 155st in its monthly global chalice lighting readings. Congregations worldwide are invited to use the reading for at least one worship service in the designated month, identifying it as the “ICUU Global Chalice Lighting” for that month. This Global Chalice Lighting is a special one from Vrijzinnigen Nederland, the Dutch ICUU Member Group, in honour of the ICUU Council Meeting and Conference in theNetherlands this month.




Dat de overkant ons bruggen maakt   

Een droom ons wakker houdt     

Leed ons meer mens mag maken 

Dat we delen – 

en geheeld zijn 


From the author:

I like it, when words start dancing and can be understood in different moods & ways. One of the ways to achieve this, is by being short. But let me explain what I tried to express. 


1) Dat de overkant ons bruggen maakt 


I live in Rotterdam, right opposite the Erasmus bridge. I hope to be a pontifex. 

Primo Levi once stated (in The Wrench, where architect Faussone speaks) “I always considered that building bridges is the most beautiful job there is. Because you can be sure, that you won’t harm anyone; on the contrary: you do the right thing because roads go over them and without roads we would still be uncivilized. Bridges are the opposite from boundaries. Boundaries are where wars begin.”

(Ik heb altijd gedacht dat bruggen bouwen het mooiste werk is dat er is. Omdat je zeker weet dat je er niemand kwaad mee doet, integendeel: je doet er goed mee, want over bruggen gaan wegen en zonder wegen zouden we nog wilden zijn; bruggen zijn het omgekeerde van grenzen, en grenzen zijn waar oorlog van komt.”) 

It is a kind of an exhortation, or if you want, a prayer which would sound like: 

(let us pray) that the opposite side inspires us to become bridge builders / inspire us to be a bridges; 

That opposites ask for/invite bridges. 

This is all meant in that first sentence.


2) “Een droom ons wakker houdt”   


This sentence deepens the first one at the same time as it is a complete new one. Mostly I’d like nice dreams, that keep me sleep. This dream of course is an ideal, a vision, a way of being, a quest. Jesus friends fell asleep, maybe with a smile on their tired faces. It means: let’s do the utmost to make this dream for unity in diversity come true.  We have to keep our eyes open to read the signs. 


3) Leed ons meer mens mag maken 


The grief part is obvious. I love the Londoner subway expression “Mind the gap”, because however much bridges we will build, I hope our differences will remain: There will always be a rift, a river, a gap. 


Realizing this, means: becoming a responsible adult, with all melancholy included. There’s no way avoiding trauma. I made these words up listening to Grieg’s Peer Gynt: Peer fled all of his life, until he realized that he was void.  


4) The 4th sentence is probably impossible to translate. There is a pun in it: “Delen tot je heel wordt”. “Delen” in Dutch is both dividing (as in math) and sharing (like in Eucharist). “Heel” means both “complete”, “One” and “Healed”


My best English would probably go like this: 


That the other side inspires to bridges

That a dream keeps us awake

That grief makes us human

That we risk to become healed.


Ivo de Jong, Rotterdam

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