Outstretched Wings of the Spirit, Day Five

The Fifth Day
(Sunday, March 10, 2019)

New Threads for the Weaving

“The chief thing one can do for this sort of growth which is superhuman is to be intelligently and devotedly religious. That means, first of all, to recognize the fact that this creative interaction is going on. It means, in the second place, that one search out this creative interaction in all the specific forms in which it may be found: in the friendship between persons, in the home, in dealing with physical nature, in relations between employer and employee, in relations between producer and consumer, in the classroom, in international relations, and in all the relationships of life. It means in the third place, that one yield oneself to this creative interaction in those specific forms in which it is most accessible, and let oneself be used by it and transformed by it, to the end that it may enrich the world in ways which no one could foresee nor plan nor intelligently direct. Finally we must clear the way for this growth.

“We have seen that this growth is an extension and multiplying of connections between activities by which they control one another. This involves increasing interdependence. But when diverse activities become interwoven and interdependent, the persons and groups involved may fail to reorganize their lives to meet the requirements of these new connections. Then great evils ensue. We see this very markedly in the modern world where interdependence has increased very rapidly but without a correlative reconstruction of habits, sentiments, loyalties, customs, laws, institutions. All these were developed to fit connections which had meaning and value when there was far less interdependence. But today they are anachronisms. They are like old broken threads which were once of service but now obstruct the weaving. They keep interdependent activities from interweaving into connections of mutual support, enhancement and meaning.”  (Wieman & Wieman)

Let us think specifically of some of the institutions which were valuable before the world’s current interdependence. Would nationalism be among them—my country first, above all? Would so-called “free enterprise,” every one for oneself, and the devil take the hindmost? If God commands interdependence, what changes must I make in my life, and our nation make in its common lofe? What will happen if such changes are not made?  (Donald Szantho Harrington)


God, help us to feel, literally feel, the invisible bonds which bind all humans together, and which my tie affluence to another’s poverty far across the earth. Help us to hurt when anyone anywhere hurts, and find a way to help. Amen.


Creation’s God, we give Thee thanks
That this Thy world is incomplete;
That battle calls our marshalled ranks,
That work awaits our hands and feet;

Beyond the present sin and shame,
Wrong’s bitter, cruel scorching blight,
We see the beckoning vision flame,
The blessed City of the Right.

Since what we choose it what we are,
And what we love we yet shall be,
The goal may ever shine afar,
The will to win it makes us free.

—William DeWitt Hyde (Hymns of the Spirit, no. 311)
(Hymns for the Celebration of Life, no. 221)

Donald Szantho Harrington wrote the Lenten meditation manual Outstretched Wings of the Spirit: On Being Intelligently and Devotedly Religiousbased on the theology of Henry Nelson Wieman and Regina Westcott Wieman. It was published by the Unitarian Universalist Association in 1980.