On Unitarian Ground

Saturday night, Amy and I watched La Fenice play early baroque music — that’s the best kind of music — at Baltimore First Unitarian. Wonderful polyphonies from Monteverdi, Rossi, and others, all played on authentic instruments like the cornetto and the viola da gamba.

Various religious icons and a Last Supper mosaicIt was also our first time inside a Unitarian church. We nosed about a bit during the intermission, noting the multiple icons for various religious traditions — Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, and Taoism — flanking the Christian cross below a huge “Last Supper” mosaic behind the altar, the humanistic “creeds” on the walls listing the brotherhood of man above the leadership (not Lordship) of Jesus, the rainbow banner hanging from the balcony pipe organ, and the “sanitized” lyrics in the hymnbook — where anything that was too worshipful of Christ, or too brimming with religious conviction, was replaced with something praising peace, fellowship, and a more ambiguous, less offensive Divinity. Unitarian hymnal(For example, this particular hymnal’s version of “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” has Stanzas 2 and 3 rewritten. Amy lamented the lack of any mention of Ebenezers. Ironically, the song’s own writer fell in with Unitarians later on in life, though it’s not confirmed that he became one himself.)

Sunday was the historic March for the Right to Kill Children, so I steered clear of The Mall after church and did little domestic things: groceries, laundry, vacuuming, strategizing a new photolog, that sort of thing.