Outstretched Wings of the Spirit--Day Twenty-two

The Twenty-second Day           
(Wednesday, March 27, 2019)

Living for the Highest Fulfillments of All Time

“To be converted, in the noblest sense, is to undergo that transformation of interests and loyalties by which one can live not only for the highest fulfillments of one’s own time, but for the highest fulfillments of all time. It is that reorganization of the personality which enables one to live for those unexplored possibilities which transcend all time but are nevertheless possibilities of existence because they can be approximated to an indefinite degree by reason of the indeterminate nature of existence and through the growth of meaning.

“For example, Jesus stands out in human history pre-eminently as living for a realm of value called the City of God that was highly impractical. His highest loyalty was given to values which cannot be actualized in any one particular form of existence or any one epoch of history, nor, perhaps, in the entire history of the human race. Nevertheless, the City of Love for which he lived was and is a possibility of existence in the sense that it can be approximated to some indefinite degree. The indeterminate nature of existence makes it impossible to set any limit to the degree of approximation. . . .

“Thus Jesus stands before the world, as (an) incarnation of the growth of meaning and value which is not limited to any specific for with its limited perfection. He embraces that way of living which strives beyond itself toward the continued perishing and new growth of further forms of value to the end that the infinite possibilities of value in God may be actualized to the maximum. . . .”  (Wieman & Wieman)

When one lives in God, one becomes an instrument for the accomplishments of higher and higher, and more and more complex forms of mutuality—mutual support, enhancement and meaning in the whole. There is almost no limit to the perfection towards which one can aspire. But growth always takes time, and is always gradual because if it is genuine it is organic. Prophets like the Rabbi Jesus encourage us to continue to strive for ever more nearly realized perfection of our growth in actual, lovingly mutual relationships. (Donald Szantho Harrington)


Creative God of growth, make each of us to be an instrument of Your growing love in the universe. Help us to bear bravely the challenge of our lesser selves that we may be reborn more perfectly at-one with all things and with Your Larger Life. Amen.


My God, I thank thee who has made
The earth so bright,
So full of splendor and of joy,
Beauty and light;
So many glorious things are here,
Noble and right.

I thank thee, that thou hast made
Joy to abound;
So many gentle thoughts and deeds
Circling us round,
That in the darkest spot of earth,
Some love is found.

I thank thee more that all our joy
Is touched with pain;
That shadows fall on brightest hours,
That thorns remain;
So that earth’s bliss may be our guide,
And not our chain.

I thank thee, God, that thou hast kept
The best in store;
We have enough, yet not too much
To long for more;
A yearning for a deeper peace,
Not know before.

—Adelaide Ann Proctor (Hymns of the Spirit, no. 263)

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.