Outstretched Wings of the Spirit--Day Thirty-eight

The Thirty-eighth Day
(Friday, April 12, 2019)

Political Endeavor in Time of Social Crises

“It is the part of religion in all times, but especially in times when people undertake the shaping of history, to equip each individual with loyalty and a way of worship that will enable each one to combine perspective with energetic action; patience with passion; sympathetic understanding of other ways, with zeal for one’s chosen way; driving forth, with a sense of high tragedy in all human undertakings; a single-eyed zeal that never flags, with experimental resourcefulness; ability to preserve poise when history-making issues are at stake. . . .

“This is the aid which religion can bring to political endeavor in time of social crisis. Without some such union of religion with political action there is little hope that we will be able to exercise that degree of social control which our times require. On this account we say that religion and politics must work together in the new era toward which we are moving. . . .” (Wieman & Wieman)

Mahatma Gandhi once said that anyone who thinks that religion and politics have nothing to do with each other doesn’t know what religion is. The task of religion is to keep politics from becoming idolatrous or demonic, to keep the molder and maker of events on the track, and to sustain him of her through good times and bad. Thus, to keep the realms of this earth growing towards the most meaningful City of our God. (Donald Szantho Harrington)


God of Power, You have entrusted the earth and its future to us humans. You have given us the knowledge and the power to make it a paradise. If we do not make it according to Your growth of meaning, it quickly becomes a hell of selfishness and strife. Help us to turn towards Your heavenly hope. Amen.


From hill and glen, from square and street,
Of this vast world beyond my door,
I hear the trend of marching feet,
The patient armies of the poor.

Not ermine clad or cloth’d in state,
Their title deeds not yet made plain,
But waking early, toiling late,
The heirs if all the earth remain.

The untaught brain shall yet be wise,
The untamed pulse grow calm and still;
The blind shall see, the lowly rise,
And work in peace time’s wondrous will.

Someday, without a trumpet’s call
This news will o’er the world be blown;
‘The heritage comes back to all!
The myriad monarchs take their own!’

—Thomas Wentworth Higginson (Hymns of the Spirit, no. 343)

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.