Outstretched Wings of the Spirit--Day Seventeen

The Seventeenth Day               
(Friday, March 22, 2019)

Disloyalty to God

“Sin is disloyalty to God. Another way of saying it is that sin is the insubordination of any interest or impulse to the complete sovereignty of God. Still again, sin is any state of being which is not completely dominated and controlled by one mastering devotion to the whole reality of God. Sin is the insubordination of any interest to the one supreme interest in God. . . .

“Religion is loyalty to God. God working in human life and the world is the growth of meaning and value, with all the unknown and unlimited possibilities of this growth. Sin is disloyalty to this growth. 

“The disloyalty that is sin has four different forms. There is the sin of incomplete loyalty; there is the sin of divided loyalty; the sin of no loyalty or indifference; and finally, the sin of idolatry. This last is most damaging of all, most subtle, yet most deadly. It is the sin that is incurred in the steadfast loyalty to some one specific object in lieu of God.” (Wieman & Wieman)

The moment we become deeply aware of the potential for growth in mutuality between ourselves and others, both near at hand and far away, and realize God’s will as commanding such growth, we cannot help but have a sense o\also of sin. We become acutely, painfully aware of how far we ourselves fall short and how great is our need to grow. This is inevitable and entirely sound. It prepares and motivates us for further growing, for richer broader loving. (Donald Szantho Harrington)


Dear God, who is the growth of love everywhere, make us aware of our too frequent smallness and selfishness. Help us to learn how to give, and not be afraid. For when we give with love, we discover there is always more to give, and we bind ourselves to ourselves, and to one another, and to You, the Most High. Amen.


Make channels for the streams of love,
Where they may broadly run;
And love has overflowing streams,
To fill them, ev’ry one.

But if at any time we cease
Such channels to provide,
The very founts of love for us
Will soon be parched and dried.

For we must share, if we would keep,
That blessing from above:
Ceasing to give, we cease to have,
Such is the law of love.

—Richard Chenevix Trench (Hymns of the Spirit, no. 276)
(Hymns for the Celebration of Life, no. 157)

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.