at the church on Oct. 6, 1912
San Francisco; First Unitarian Church; First Congregational Church in Oakland
Mahmud writes: "The Master was invited to deliver an address at the First Unitarian Church of San Francisco. The moment He entered the church the audience stood respectfully. When the music ended, the Master was introduced by the pastor of the church, who dwelt on His 40 years of imprisonment, the martyrdom of the Eastern Bahá'ís, `Abdu'l-Bahá's release from prison and His journey to spread the teachings of the Ancient Beauty. He also mentioned the teachings of universal peace and the unity of nations and peoples under the shadow of the Greatest Name. The pastor then read a translated passage from the Hidden Words.
The Master stood and delivered a comprehensive talk on the degrees of love, amity, peace and the oneness of mankind; the universality of the Manifestations of God; the truth of Islam; and the news of the appearance of Bahá'u'lláh. He concluded by chanting an inspiring prayer in Persian. Again the pastor stood, praised the Master's talk and thanked Him for His address. At the conclusion of the meeting, a crowd of people came to the Master to shake His hand, expressing their sincerity and heartfelt appreciation. Those who had not yet had the honor of visiting Him took His address so they might meet Him at His home.
In the afternoon a number of Bahá'ís and non-Bahá'ís gathered to meet Him. In answer to a question from an Indian regarding Sufism and the Trinity, He stated:
The reality of divinity is holy beyond descent and incarnation but the divine Manifestations are expressive of the attributes and perfections of God, the All-Praised, the Exalted. They are like mirrors placed before the Sun of Truth, so if they claim that the Sun of Truth is in them, they speak the truth. However, they mean that the signs and light of the Sun of Truth are in them, and not the Sun itself.
In the evening `Abdu'l-Bahá went to the First Congregational Church in Oakland. The influence of the Cause and the majesty of the Covenant made such an impression and was so widespread that during his introduction the pastor of the church said: `Tonight the messenger of God will speak in the church of God and you will hear with your own ears.'
The Master spoke magnificently on the fundamental oneness of the principles of religions and the truth of Islam. His words moved and deeply affected everyone, increasing their joy and eagerness and raising the status of the Cause of God."
ah, if only we could be in those audiences! We have to imagine it, if we can. . . .