Sunday, February 13, 2011

we know what living is...

The conclusion of Brook Herford's sermon "The Small End of Great Problems.". Have a blessed Sabbath everyone.

"The practical wisdom of all this is we are finite beings, surrounded by infinity and every line of action, observation, thought, along which we try to work or look, soon edges off to heights and depths which our working cannot attain, nor our thinking fathom. Yet close about us it is light. A little circle is within our reach. Here is this mighty earth, and for the life of us we cannot tell what it really is, or what a grain of it is, but we know how to use it. Here is our own life and we do not know what life is — but we know what living is, and how we may live just here to-day so as to find good and blessing. Here are all our fellow creatures, and they suggest a hundred problems of being and destiny in which any one may — in about ten minutes — lose himself in endless doubt; — but — these fellow creatures are real enough — their powers, their characters, sorrows, joys, and varied interests as they weave in with our living, there is no indistinctness about these. — Well, here is our dominion. Within this little circle close to us let us live the best and most we can — and from this centre feel out our way towards the larger relations and the infinite life. Begin at the small end — it is the true way both in practical things and in theoretical. Even in all the solemn infinite mystery of life, do not turn away from it, do not try to ignore it as hopelessly out of reach. Only, in looking that way and thinking that way, keep a firm foot on the solid earth and a close grip of your brother's hand. Reverence the near close facts of things as they appear to your natural eye and your common sense. That is the way to the highest thought and truth. Those highest things — Being, God and Destiny — are not out of our ken if we will feel our way towards them with this clue of believing that the near and human things are parts of the Divine, and indications of the Divine. Then will our very recognition of all that is best in man oblige us to believe in God, and the present life will lead us by its deepest qualities and possibilities to faith in a still greater future. So comes that living, confident faith which the world is longing for to-day — a faith not suspended as it were from some dim authority of ancient texts but a faith rooted in the common need and longing of mankind; a faith climbing upwards through plant and star, and through the little child and the grown man, and through the long growth of the Bible, and the perfect outcome of Christ — through all this, climbing upward to the Infinite Fatherhood and the eternal life of Heaven. So faith grows out of fact, and in the growing ever verifies itself, and throws back on the fact an ever nobler meaning; and thought widens and life grows larger, and the world of man moves onwards — not yet into any clear knowledge, indeed, — but surely towards it; towards it, enough to make us sure that our faith is not a baseless dream, but a true light that lightens towards the Infinite and the Divine."


1 comment:

David G. Markham said...

Brooke Herford describes a systemic way of viewing and understanding the world. Ken Wilbur calls Brooke's ideas "holons". They are systemic circles similar to the Chinese dolls that nestle inside each other in ever increasing sizes.

I am reminded of the 7th UU principle about the interdependent web of which we are only a part.

Do we start with the whole and work towards the particular (deductive) or do we start with the particular and work up to the wholes (inductive). The mystery which we should not loose sight of is that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. How can that be?

It is in the relationship, in the connection that life is mysteriously born and arises. Jesus said, "Where two or more are gathered in my name, there I will be." Jesus saw the mystery of relationship, or connection.

But we most effectively and meaningful start where we are not some place other than where we stand.

Thanks for Brooke's sermon. Thanks for this wonderful blog. It means a lot to me.