The Third Day
(Friday, March 8, 2019)
The Growth of Meaning in the World
“What, then, is supreme value? It is growth of meaning in the world. . . . This growth of meaning and value in the world is God. There are five grounds on which this claim rests.
1. Growth of meaning commands our supreme devotion and highest loyalty by right of its truthfulness.
2. It creates and sustains human personality.
3. It carries human personality to whatsoever highest fulfillments are possible to it.
4. It has more worth than personality, hence human personality finds its highest destiny in giving itself to this growth, to be mastered, used and transformed by it into the fabric of emerging values.
5. The greatest values can be poured into human life only as we yield ourselves to the domination and control of this growth. When we try to dominate and use it, we lose these values.
“This growth of meaning in the world is super-human. Super-human does not mean supernatural. Neither does it mean something outside of human life, for humans obviously can never experience or know anything that is wholly outside their living. Growth of meaning can occur only in and with human experience. Growth of meaning must always appropriate the materials of human life. In like manner a flower can grow only by using the materials of air, light and soil. It grows by re-ordering these elements. So growth of meaning occurs by re-ordering human life. It is not the work of human life. It is super-human because it operates in ways over and above the plans and purposes of people, bringing forth values people cannot foresee, and often developing connections of mutual support and mutual meaning in spite of, or contrary to, the efforts of people. . . . Growth is always super-human, although it is not supernatural.” (Wieman & Wieman)
Supreme value is the growth of meaning and value in the world, the increase of loving relationships among us, and mutuality within our common life. This growth of meaning is God, God at work in human and all other being.
Love, then, commands our highest loyalty. The urge to share, to help, to spare, to nite is God, and demands our uttermost responsiveness to its call. As the apostle John summarized and science now confirms, “God is love, and they who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.” (Donald Szantho Harrington)
Loving God, help us to realize that Your command to love our neighbor as ourselves means allour neighbors, not just those we happen to like. And it is a command, not just nice, but absolutely necessary if we are to live and be happy on Your earth. Amen.
When they heart, with joy o’erflowing,
Sings a thankful prayer,
In thy joy, O let another
With thee share.
When the harvest sheaves ingathered
Fill thy barns with store,
To thy God and to another
Give the more.
If thy soul, with power uplifted,
Yearn for glorious deed,
Give thy strength to serve another
In one’s need.
Hast thou borne a secret sorrow
In thy lonely breast?
Take to thee thy sorrowing kindred
For a guest.
Share will all thy bread of blessing,
Sorrow’s burden share;
When they heart enfolds another
God is there.
—Theodore Chickering Williams (Hymns of the Spirit, no. 280)
(Hymns for the Celebrationof Life, no. 226)
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.