STLT#139, Wonders Still the World Shall Witness

Is it cheating to just say “ditto”?

Yesterday I talked about these aspirational hymns, that by and large (except for some tripping over language – today’s is the binary “sons and daughters”) are pretty good and visionary and all that we hope we, and Unitarian Universalism, and the world, can be. Then I talked about how really frustrated I am that we are on the brink of all this goodness and how can it be 2017 and we are still so seemingly far away?

Is it cheating to say I feel the same way after singing this hymn, and maybe the one after that too? Because I’m sensing a theme here.

Now…earlier this morning (when the cat awakened me before the crack of dawn), I looked briefly at social media, and an acquaintance reminded me of an episode of The West Wing, (“Hartsfield’s Landing”) where the president returns from a trip to India bearing gifts – namely, chess boards. He proceeds to set up a couple of games while the staff deal with an international crisis (and wait up for early primary results out of New Hampshire). One of the games is with Sam, who is let in on some of the international intrigue; as the situation is resolved, thanks to some pretty impressive global chess, Sam wonders aloud “how do you do it?” The president replies, “see the whole board.”

I mention this, in this rambling “ditto” of a blog post, because I think about how important it is for religious professionals to be holding the vision in the midst of crisis, to see not just the next move, but the move after that and ten moves after that. Things feel terrible right now, but there is a larger game being played, one that – if we see it – we can win.

This hymn – all of these hymns in this “In Time to Come” section – are us seeing the whole board.

Wonders still the world shall witness never known in days of old,
never dreamed by ancient sages, howsoever free and bold.
Sons and daughters shall inherit wondrous arts to us unknown,
when the dawn of peace its splendor over all the world has thrown.

They shall rule with winged freedom worlds of health and human good,
worlds of commerce, worlds of science, all made one and understood.
They shall know a world transfigured, which our eyes but dimly see;
they shall make its towns and woodlands beautiful from sea to sea.

For a spirit then shall move them we but vaguely apprehend —
aims magnificent and holy, making joy and labor friend.
Then shall bloom in song and fragrance harmony of thought and deed,
fruits of peace and love and justice — where today we plant the seed.

Our moves today affect what happens next…and what happens after that. Let us work today, but see the whole board.

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