Once to Every Soul and Nation

“Once to every soul and nation comes the moment to decide…” – James Russell Lowell


Dear Ones,

Last night as I reviewed the news of the day, I heard the resonant voice of the senate chaplain, Barry Black. As part of his prayer for the important day of solemn impeachment hearings, he recited a poem by James Russell Lowell, son of a Unitarian minister.

A version of that poem also serves as a powerful hymn in our gray hymnal with these lyrics:

Once to every soul and nation comes the moment to decide,
in the strife of truth with falsehood, for the good or evil side:
then to stand with truth is noble, when we share its wretched crust;
ere that cause bring fame and profit, and ‘tis prosperous to be just.
Though the cause of evil prosper, yet ‘tis truth alone is strong;
though its portion be the scaffold, and upon the throne be wrong.
Then it is the brave one chooses, while the coward stands aside,
till the multitude make virtue of the faith they have denied.


May we find the tools of our faith a blessing for this time, hope and succor for these days.