By the 1820's the Unitarian Church dominated New England and the Northeast. Their call to reason, not dogma as the basis for religious belief and action inspired many scientific and political leaders of the day to join and contribute to the evolution of this freeing message. Jefferson, the Adam's family, John and John Quincy who were buried in the UU church in Quincy, MA, Emerson and Thoreau, the Transcendentalists, and many other thinkers and leaders contributed to the movement. It is said that the Unitarians are the Head of UU'ism and that Universalism is the Heart. After these two services may we all be clearer if that is true.
"So you mustn't be frightened, dear Mr. Kappus," Rilke writes in one of his "Letters to a Young Poet." "If a sadness rises in front of you, larger than any you have ever seen; if an anxiety, like light and cloud-shadows, moves over your hands and over everything you do. You must realize that something is happening to you, that life has not forgotten you, that it holds you in its hand and will not let you fall."
"In the autumn of 1902 Franz Kappus, barely 20 years old, sat under one of his favorite spots in all of the Military Academy in Vienna - a collection of ancient chestnut trees. In his hands he cradled a book of poems by Rainer Maria Rilke while his chilled toes played with blades of soft grass. Transported to the world painted by Rilke, Kappus didn’t notice when the chaplain of the academy took a seat beside him.
After reaching for the book of poems from Kappus’ hands, thumbing through its pages and settling on a few verses, the chaplain looked up and said, “Well, Rene Rilke, my student, has turned into a poet after all.”
There were profound differences between Unitarianism and Universalism in the 19th Century when both grew into strong, nationwide, separate denominations. The Universalists were focused on the love of God being the basis for Universal salvation. A loving God would never condemn anyone to hell, they believed. And that upset a lot more people than you would think.
Here you will find recent sermons, some audio, some video.