Momentary Meditations

By Stephen Shick

Momentary Meditations are published every Monday to awaken what Rachel Carson called “a sense of wonder” and what Albert Schweitzer called “a reverence for life.”

Looking deeply into our interdependence with all life on earth helps us know what we must do.

In our harried world, these meditations are meant to serve as a renewable resource for compassion and love.

We hope that viewing Momentary Meditations will touch that part of you that seeks peace within yourself, with your fellow human beings, and with the wondrous world of which we are but a part.

Rachel Carson is best known for her book, Silent Spring, that exposed the dangers of pesticides and rekindled the modern environmental movement. But she also deeply believed that a sense of wonder, awe and imagination is critical to caring for both nature and human beings. Her small book, A Sense of Wonder, explores nature with children and caring, compassionate adults. Rachel Carson put it this way, “The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction.”

Such a sense of wonder and a deep “reverence for life” can clarify the ethical choices we each must make. Albert Schweitzer came up with those words which capture the goal of Momentary Meditations. Schweitzer,a renowned theologian and musician, gave up his life of privilege to become a physician and serve the people in a remote section of Congo. As he traveled upstream on an errand of mercy he struggled to find words to capture the source of ethics in all religions and philosophies.

Here is how he described what happened next: “Late on the third day, at the very moment when, at sunset, we were making our way through a herd of hippopotamuses, there flashed upon my mind, unforeseen and unsought, the phrase, ‘Reverence for Life.’ “Now,” he said,”I found my way to the idea in which world-and-life affirmation and ethics are contained side by side!”

Stephen Shick is the author of Be the Change and Consider the Lilies (Skinner Books). His program, “The Art of Speaking without Notes,” is nationally recognized and has been co-sponsored by the Harvard Divinity School. Shick founded and directed several national organizations, including The SANE Education Fund, the Unitarian Universalist (UU) Peace Network, the UU Service Committee’s U.S. Programs, and the Consider the Alternatives radio network.