Outstretched Wings of the Spirit--Day Eighteen

The Eighteenth Day                  
(Saturday, March 23, 2019)

The Sense of Guilt

“The more vividly one senses the reality of that wholeness of God which infinitely exceeds the scope of conscious envisagement of values, the more deeply will one have the sense of guilt. This is a tremendous truth: the sense of guilt is altogether wholesome and noble when it arises from the depth and breadth of our appreciation of values.  It comes not from the poverty of life and its possibilities, but exactly from the opposite. It springs from the realization of the glory that might be and ought to be. It is the mark of our dignity and our greatness of human life and history, and not of the meanness of it. Only when it comes from one’s awareness of high values that ought to be, is sense of guilt an awareness of reality and a form of clear discernment that is necessary for noble and intelligent living.”  (Wieman & Wieman)

As we become aware of the reality and insistent urgency of God’s will for the creative oneness of the world, we become equally conscious of how we ourselves may be obstructing its realization. We are not ready to sacrifice some of our affluence to help the poor at home or abroad to help themselves; we are slow to turn our hearts toward the things which make for peace, if this may cost us even a little of our comfort. We have put our loyalty to multi-national corporations, to all kinds of things, to our own country above our loyalty to God, the growth of mutuality and meaning. We are in sin, each and every one. (Donald Szantho Harrington)


God, keep us strong and brave enough to be able to feel and face our guilt, to acknowledge where we have not loved as purely or shared as fully as we easily could. Stab our spirits broad awake to where we are and where we ought to be, and goad us towards a higher, holier way. Amen.


Hard is now the constant woe,
Bitter is the long despair,
Casting doubt on all we know,
Blotting out our visions fair.

Weakly strain we after truth,
Slowly mount we toward the good,
Searching long in gloom and truth
For the soul’s sustaining food.

Our immortal task is great.
Greatly must it be achieved;
And our doom is still to wait,
Hoping still, though still deceived—

Hoping for the greater day,
Hoping for the larger light—
Day that shall endure for aye,
Light that yieldeth not to light.

—G. W. Fox (Hymns for the Celebration of Life, no. 129)

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.