Outstretched Wings of the Spirit--Day Forty-three

The Forty-third Day
(Wednesday, April 17, 2019)

The Interpenetration and Transfusion of Cultures

“All missionary enterprise carries with it the interpenetration and transfusion of cultures. . . . . If missionaries have the faith that inquires, they can bring to others a devotion to that supreme and perfect reality which they do not claim to be identical with their own specific beliefs. This reality is much more sublime and perfect than their formulation of it. Thus they can bring others a striving and an awareness that reaches up through all imitations and errors of their own culture and all culture. Their own unworthy practice and all unworthy practices of religion. They can bring a loyalty that reaches up to the supreme and perfect reality of God . . . Such missionaries can bring to all people a devotion that can rally all cultures, all religious souls, all traditions and perspectives, to one great cooperative enterprise of bringing their diverse insights and dominance of efforts into creative interchange, mutual correction, and supplementation to the end of attaining a clearer vision of the sublime and perfect reality of God and of the way of life whereon his goodness shines.” (Wieman & Wieman)

Our world is coming together with a rush, bringing together cultures and peoples who had known of each other but had no real opportunity to interpenetrate. Today, especially in places like North America, they meet and work together, fall in love, marry and have children across all the religious, cultural, social, national and racial barriers of the past. This is God at work in and through us towards a higher, broader mutuality. We need not to resist it, but to welcome it. (Donald Szantho Harrington)


God of all people, Source of all the faiths, open our minds and hearts to each other’s yearning and discoveries. Help us to find truth in our differences and reassurance in our similarities, and let us clasp each other as brothers and sisters should, Children all of One Spirit. Amen.


It sounds along the ages,
Soul answering to soul;
It kindles on the pages
Of ev’ry Bible scroll;
The psalmist heard and sang it,
From martyr lips it broke,
And prophet tongues outrang it
Till sleeping nations woke.

From Sinai’s cliffs it echoed,
It breathed from Buddha’s tree,
It charmed in Athens’ market,
It hallowed Galilee;
The hammer stroke of Luther,
The Pilgrim’s seaside prayer,
The oracles of Concord
One holy Word declare.

It calls—and lo!, new Justice!
It speaks—and lo, new Truth!
In ever nobler stature,
And unexhausted youth.
Forever on it soundeth,
Knows naught itself of time,
Our laws but catch the music
Of its eternal chime.

—William Channing Gannett (Hymns of the Spirit, no. 76)
(Hymns for the Celebration of Life, no. 247)

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.