Outstretched Wings of the Spirit--Day Thirty-four

The Thirty-fourth Day                  
(Monday, April 8, 2019)

Beyond the Boundaries

“After a wholesome mystical experience, whether it involves any such radical reorganization of personality or not, there is almost always a deep feeling of refreshment. The restraints, conflicts, tensions, crampings, limitations, have been thrown off for a little while, and perhaps the return to ordinary life is not quite so cramped as the old way. . . .

“Also one carries a sense of spiritual adventure following such experience. We have looked beyond the boundaries of all known and achieved values into the infinite . . . We have stood beside the great sea and beheld its unformed, ever rolling waters. We must confess concerning the sea that

‘I know not where these islands lift
Their fronded palms in air.’

Only we know that there are islands of meaning and value there to be discovered. So we can set sail with eager zest and expectancy and high courage . . .

“In some such spirit as this, one comes from the mystical experience when it is wholesome and fulfills its fruitful function in life. Also one can come from it with a new appreciation for the old objectives of life. One sees them in a new perspective. One sees them as pointing beyond themselves . . . They represent an outreach after the wholeness of God . . . When we come from the mystical experience, we find ourselves in the old universe, but it is renewed. It has distant vistas. On its horizon is the light of meanings yet to dawn. It has qualities it did not have before. It is an open universe, not a closed one. It opens out into the infinity of God. So the mystics have a song they cannot sing, a truth they cannot declare, a vision they cannot share. But it is a song, a truth and a vision which anyone may have who has the experience, It is both very simple and very profound because it is nothing else than the unfathomable and undiscriminated wholeness of God in relation to the world.” (Wieman & Wieman)

Because we are children of God, parts of the Living Whole, and we humans live upon its growing edge, our creative potentials are boundless. Each accomplishment is a springboard rather than a resting place. Each mountain top scaled reveals eat another higher one beckoning. Somewhere, lost still in the blue distance is the “City of God” itself, which is our goal, the Everest of the spirit, what Hartshorne calls “the unsurpassable except by Itself.” Towards it we reach and strive as long as life permits. (Donald Szantho Harrington)


Eternal God, You have made us restless until we find our peace in Your Larger Life, Your ever-on-becoming. Make us to be still unsatisfied until we feel ourselves to be fully caught up in the high adventure of living our Your love to our fullest capability. Amen.


All hail the pageant of the years
That endless come and go,
The brave profession of the spheres
In Time’s resistless flow—
Arise and crown our days with good
In glad exultant humanhood.

Around us lies the heritage
Of clashing sword and shield
The want and waste, the hate and rage
Of many a gloried field—
Arise, and crown our days with good,
In glad, exultant humanhood!

The aeons come, the aeons go
The stars nor pause nor cease;
On wings of silence soft as snow,
shall come the boon of peace.
All hail, our days are crowned with good,
In glad, exultant humanhood!

—John Haynes Holmes (Hymns of the Spirit, no. 146)
(Hymns for the Celebration of Life, no. 205)

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.