The Thirty-ninth Day
(Saturday, April 13, 2019)
A Web of Necessary Mutual Support
“God is in the economic process. We cannot intelligently and devoutly shape history until this is seen and felt. . . . Today the entire planet is becoming one community, not in love, not in mutual understanding, and cooperation, but in interdependence. The superhuman power of God is shown and shaping the lives of men into oneness that they never intended and which is, more often than not, contrary to their purposes. Physical things, human purposes and living organisms of all sorts are woven closer and closer and wider and wider into a web of necessary mutual support. The growth goes on wherever there is production for exchange. It is God at work in the economic process weaving a web of unity that can grow into community if we will do our part. . . . The church as the prime established institution of religion must awaken humanity’s loyalty, love and sensitivity to God in this realm of production for exchange, so that its economic striving will be corrected, inspired and directed by the ultimate sense of this divine presence at work shaping history through these activities. The church must develop criteria which will enable us to know when our economic striving runs counter to the working of God in this field of endeavor. . . . With such criteria sufficiently developed, and with people awake and sensitive to the presence of God, the church should be able to say: This is the way God is moving. Theretofore that bit of social structure that stands in the way must be stopped. With adequate criteria the church can speak with authority and insight and save us from the chaos and ruin of fighting against God. (Wieman & Wieman)
We live in an age in which economics rules the roost. Giant corporations seeking the highest possible profit, irrespective of the means they employ, the people they hurt or the resources they use up forever are in the saddle. The theory is that if everyone is selfish enough, the whole will benefit. But it is not working out that way. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer until there is a social explosion and many get hurt. The Church and its members have the responsibility to find and demonstrate a more excellent way. (Donald Szantho Harrington)
Transforming God, Your command is that we love and serve each other in allour doings. We cannot do this while we exploit our fellow humans. If we grow rich on their poverty, we condemn ourselves. We become despicable in Your eyes, and our affluence cannot last. Correct us, God, and, in Your great mercy, help us to reform and redeem ourselves. Amen.
Let there be light, oh God of Hosts!
Let there be wisdom on the earth!
Let broad humanity have birth!
Let there be deeds, instead of boasts!
Within our passioned hearts instill
The calm that endeth deadly strife;
Make us thy ministers of life;
Purge us from the lusts that curse and kill.
Give us the peace of vision clear
To see our comrade’s good our own,
To joy and suffer not alone;
The love that casteth our all fear.
Let woe and waste of warfare cease’
That useful labor yet may build
Its homes with love and laughter filled,
God, give thy wayward children peace!
—William Merrell Vories (Hymns of the Spirit, no. 397)
(Hymns for the Celebration of Life, no. 201)
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.