Letter from Jon, September 2018
Dear Members and Friends:
More than a baker’s dozen of us are getting ready to travel to Boston for our third New England pilgrimage in October. We will spend five days visiting historic Unitarian and Universalist sites in Boston, Concord, Cambridge and Harvard, MA. Among many sites we will visit the chapel at Harvard where Emerson gave his famous Divinity School Address, tour Emerson’s and Louisa May Alcott’s homes in Concord, spend nearly a day at Fruitlands (a Transcendentalist commune), worship at the Arlington Street Church in Boston, and go to Thoreau’s cabin site at Walden Pond.
In past visits the weather has been warm enough to swim in Walden Pond (which a few pilgrims have done!). But the last time we were there I offered to ‘ baptize’ anyone who removed shoes and socks, rolled up trousers and joined me in the shallow water. I would sprinkle some drops of Pond water on their head and recite a few memorized lines from Thoreau. Simple fun.
But one earnest pilgrim asked me if the water would hurt. It depends, I replied, on how sinful you are! If you are really bad, it will burn. But if you are good, it will be cool and refreshing. OK, said Rhonda Peterson the pilgrim, Go ahead. I sprinkled the water, said a few words, and asked, Well? Cool and refreshing, she beamed. Trust your goodness, I responded.
Later I thought to myself, if there ever was a Unitarian Universalist message inspired by Transcendentalism it would be: trust your goodness. In these bewildering, scary and dispiriting times we must each of us trust our own goodness as we struggle to respond to present dangers and risky encounters.
Homecoming Sunday is this Sunday! One service at 10 am at the Meadowbrook Community Center. The children will be back. The choir will be back. And we will open our 105th year of witness and service in Seattle as a liberal religious community. It will be good to be all together again. I can’t wait,