Outstretched Wings of the Spirit--Day Fifteen

The Fifteenth Day                    
(Wednesday, March 20, 2019)

Dynamic Peace

“One of the most important characteristics of religious responding is dynamic peace. That is, the devotee, regardless of the turmoil and disappointment and tragedy going on near or within her or his own living, sustains a poise that keeps her or him from destruction of faith and spirit. It does not come from negative adaptation, nor indifference, nor insulation of the self. It comes rather through the conviction that no matter what may occur, there still stands The Highest, and that he paramount thing is to keep in functional relationship to it, to orient the self all the more completely toward it.

“Three forms which this dynamic peace may take are important. First, there is the ability to relax, to sleep, and to sleep deeply. First we can relax in truly deep peace, require less of ordinary sleep. Second, there is freedom from unresolved conflict, harmony, release. There is sweetness of a peculiar sort. There is an inner sense of unity following the experience of a relatively integrated reaction. There is a feeling of harmony of communion unbroken by inner conflicts or outer interferences.”  (Wieman & Wieman)

One of the chiefest values of the religious way of life is its capacity to give us peace of mind and soul in the face of all of life’s unpredictable confrontations and heartaches. There is always a Power greater than oneself to fall back upon. So real is this that it can lead us even to say, triumphantly with Paul, “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” (Donald Szantho Harrington)


God of peace, grant us Your healing touch. Your greatest gift, the knowledge that in You is our peace, that as we spend our lives for Yours, you take possession of us, and no harm can come. Amen.


O Thou whose power o’er moving worlds presides,
Whose voice created, and whose wisdom guides,
On darkling earth in pure effulgence shine
And cheer the clouded mind with light divine.

‘Tis thine alone to calm the pious breast
With silent confidence and holy rest:
From thee, great God, we spring, to thee we tend—
Path, motive, guide, original and end. 

—Boethius, translated by Samuel Johnson (Hymns of the Spirit, no. 67)
(Hymns for the Celebration of Life, no. 128)

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