Outstretched Wings of the Spirit--Day Sixteen

The Sixteenth Day                    
(Thursday, March 21, 2019)

The Great Surging Sea

“The last characteristic of genuine religion is, like the preceding, one of the most outstanding. It is the sense of glory which behavior may reveal now as awe and wonder, now as glow and radiance, again as heightened, intensified responsiveness in spontaneously interpretive movement. This is one form of the real root of religion. Religion originated in our sensing the great forces and beauties and values not attained nor even yet served. . . .

“This experience of glory does not imply that the devotees know and discriminate all the great forces and beauties and values, but they sensethem. They  feelthe great surging sea  of infinite value, existent and potential, in which humanity lives. They know it by faith, and this gives the sense of glory. This faith that there is this great, dimly discerned wealth of potential values and possibilities shapes their feeling and action. . . . 

“The thinking, feeling and action of the genuine religious person are imbued with the sense of the presence of the more-than-I-can-behold-or-hear.  Our responding is not keyed to the things and occasions about us. We respond to these through a behavior keyed to the great and mysterious On Beyond, whose glory we sense.” (Wieman & Wieman)

Human life can be terribly small, mean and selfish. Sometimes it seems totally to circle around ME. Worse, it can be humdrum, dull, meaningless, just plain boring. But human life under the command of growing mutuality must reach out to others and to the world, must touch, take hold, share, respond, unite and rejoice. Then comes the glory, glory realized, more glory glimpsed. (Donald Szantho Harrington)


God of power, help us to know and realize in our own experience the truth of Jesus’ great affirmation, “Thine is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory Forever and Ever.” As we are yours, it shall be ours as well. Amen.


“Thy kingdom come!” O God, we daily cry,
Weary and sad with earth’s long strife and pain;
“How long, O God!” thy suff’ring children sigh,
“Speed thou the dawn, and o’er the nations reign!”

Thy kingdom come! Then all the din of war
Like some dark dream shall vanish with the night:
Peace, holy peace, its myriad gifts shall pour,
Resting secure from danger and affright.

Thy kingdom come! No more shall deeds of shame,
Brutish and base, destroy the soul divine:
Bright with thy love’s all-purifying flame
Thy human temples evermore shall shine.

—Henry Warburton Hawkes (Hymns of the Spirit, no. 333)
(Hymns for the Celebration of Life, no. 210)

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.