Outstretched Wings of the Spirit, Day Eleven

The Eleventh Day
(Saturday, March 16, 2019)

A Joyous Quality

“Religious living is oriented and integrated toward one supreme area of worth. Consequently all living is measured and ordered with reference to that which the devotee holds to be The Most High. . . .Certain correlary qualities of responding belong with the characteristic or organized reaching under a dominant loyalty. There is a feeling that life is worth living. There is a sense of direction. There is a joyous quality through the sense of moving on toward that value set as supreme, a consciousness of making progress, there is an accentuated emotional element because everything that occurs makes much more difference to the religiously integrated person than it does to the unreligious person. . . .”  (Wieman & Wieman)

To have a clear sense of direction, a definite hierarchy of loyalties so as to be able to put first things first, is fundamental to real enjoyment of life. We want to know that we are accomplishing something, getting somewhere worth while, if we are to be happy. In the light of such an o’er arching commitment, every smallest detail of life gains an eternal significance. (Donald Szantho Harrington)


Dear God, awaken us to the glory of Your heavenly command and the joy of our high calling. Let them transform our humblest tasks and most mundane moments into blessedness. Amen.


Seek not afar for beauty; lo! It glows
In dew-wet grasses all about thy feet;
In birds, in sunshine, childish faces sweet,
In stars and mountain summits topped with snows.

Go not abroad for happiness: for see
It is a flower blossoming at thy door.
Bring love and justice home, and then no more
Thou’lt wonder in what dwelling joy may be.

Dream not of noble service elsewhere wrought;
The simple duty that awaits thy hand
Is God’s voice speaking a divine command:
Life’s common deeds build all that saints have thought.

In wonder-workings, or some bush aflame,
we look for God and fancy God concealed;
But in earth’s common things God stands revealed,
While grass and flowers and stars spell out the Name.

—Minot Judge Savage (Hymns of the Spirit, no. 40)
(Hymns for the Celebration of Life, no 174)

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.