I first heard the name of Howard Thurman in 1959 when I entered seminary at the Boston University School of Theology, where he had been Dean of the Chapel. He was noted for having started “The Church For the Fellowship of All Peoples” in San Francisco—an interfaith, interracial, intercultural church. I have recently been reading some of his writings and have been struck by his gracefulness of expression and wish to share some of these thoughts in the next few days.
“In many ways beyond all calculation and reflection, our lives have been deeply touched and influenced by the character, the teaching, and the spirit of Jesus of Nazareth. He moves in and out upon the horizon of our days like some fleeting ghost. At times, when we are least aware and least prepared, some startling clear thrust of his mind is our portion—the normal tempo of our days is turned back upon itself and we are reminded of what we are, and of what life is. Often the judgment of such moments is swift and silencing: sometimes his insight kindles a wistful longing in the heart, softened by the muted cadence of unfulfilled dreams and unrealized hopes. sometimes his words stir to life long forgotten resolutions, call to mind an earlier time when our feet were set in a good path and our plan was for holly endeavor. Like a great wind they move, fanning into flame the burning spirit of the Living God, our leaden spirits are given wings that sweep beyond all vistas and beyond all horizons. There is no way to balance the debt we owe to the spirit which he let loose in the world.”