Outstretched Wings of the Spirit--Day Twenty

The Twentieth Day                   
(Monday, March 25, 2019)

God’s Forgiveness Is

“God’s forgiveness lies in the fact that this growth of meaning and value is forever reaching out to take us and weave our activities into a growing system of meanings, eliciting in us new responses, new interests, bringing us wider and richer vision and more profound appreciation. The gentle, innumerable, persistent interactions which work upon us to this end, are the work of God. It is God’s forgiveness extended to us. But we cannot have it, we cannot be taken up and absorbed into this growth unless we confess our sins against it.

“This forgiveness of God is granted to us at the high price of tragedy. For we have seen that the evil consequences of our wrongdoing are not nullified by our confession. Only the psychological barriers are removed so that we can enter again freely and fully into the growth and meaning of value which is God . . . The forgiveness of God is the renewal, after disloyalty, of the interplay of innumerable activities weaving connections of meaning and mutual support between us and our physical and social environment, healing and building anew the maimed and broken connections caused by the disloyalty.”  (Wieman & Wieman)

There is no way for any of us to make right all of our wrongs , done to others of to ourselves. Nor can we escape the consequences for us or others of our failures. What we can do is to acknowledge them before God, and thus clear away the obstacles to our correcting them. Many wrongs can be righted and failure is only failure if we do not learn from it. God’s forgiveness is in getting us back on track of growth in love and mutuality, and that is always available, always waiting our desire. (Donald Szantho Harrington)


Merciful God, help us to see ourselves and all our doings in the light of Your demand for growth in love. Help us to know that when we live in love, we live in You, and You live in us. Amen.


Oh God, to us thy children, humbly kneeling,
Conscious of weakness, ign’rance, sin and shame,
Give such a force of holy tho’t and feeling,
That we may live to glorify they name.

That we may conquer base desire and passion,
That we may rise from selfish thought and will,
O’ercome the world’s allurement, threat and fashion,
Walk humbly, gently, leaning on thee still.

Let all they goodness by our minds be seen,
Let all thy mercy on our would be sealed:
Lord, if thou wilt, thy power can make us clean;
O speak the word, thy servants shall be heald!

—James Freeman Clarke (Hymns of the Spirit, no. 231)

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.