The Forty-first Day
(Monday, April 15, 2019)
Face Turned Towards the Light
“People who choose to live for God as growth of meaning will have an underlying zest which arises out of disaster as well as fulfillment. They will know that in all fulfillment there is the presence of death; and in all perishing is the beginning of new life. They will see that each individual, each order, each epoch, each aeon, can actualize but a very small part of the fullness of possible meanings that is in God . . . They will seek perfection with all their powers. But when they find it, if happily they should, they will know that it must pass, giving place to further fulfillments. Thus in all perishings and in all beginnings, they will live with gentle might out of growth and the infinite realm of possibility joined in that unity which is God . . . Their chief end will be the promotion of that growth and richness of the world’s meaning which all people may share and to which all may contribute. . . . Because they discern the perpetual emergence of new possibilities, they will see that all human life is failure, and all is success, so long as they render their uttermost devotion to God.” (Wieman & Wieman)
We men and women of this world are all hung upon the cross of a perpetual paradox, the very best we can make of ourselves and our situations must be superseded. Our victories are mere stepping stones towards a yet higher good, which stands in judgment upon our noblest efforts. Yet, if we set our minds and hearts and lives on service of the highest, even our failures will be true success. We will have the satisfaction of knowing that we served God faithfully, as best we could, provided the next step up in a long climb, and live and die content. (Donald Szantho Harrington)
Evolutionary God, teach us to accept the limitations of being human, yet always to strive to overcome them, that Your City of Love may be progressively realized through us. Amen.
Out of the dark, the circling sphere
Is rounding onward to the light;
We see not yet the daylight clear,
Although we see the paling night.
And hope, that lights its fadeless fires,
And faith that shines with steadfast ray,
And love, that courage re-inspires,
As morning stars, lead on the way.
Look backward, how much has been won;
Look round, how much is yet to win!
The watches of the night are done;
The watches of the day begin.
O thou, whose mighty patience holds
The night and day alike in view,
Thy will our dearest hope enfolds;
O keep us steadfast, patient, true.
—Samuel Longfellow (Hymns of the Spirit, no. 99)
(Hymns for the Celebration of Life, no. 208)
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.