The original version of this meditation by Howard Thurman appeared in his 1951 book Deep Is the Hunger. It was reprinted in the 1997 collection For the Inward Journey, selected by his daughter Anne Spenser Thurman.
In the late 1920s, Thurman became FOR’s first African American board member. 


Howard Washington Thurman (1899–1981) played a leading role in many social justice movements and organizations of the twentieth century. He was one of the principal architects of the modern, nonviolent civil rights movement and a key mentor to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Life Is Saved By The Singing of Angels”
by Howard Thurman

There must always remain in every person’s life
Some place for the singing of angels,
Some place for that which in itself is breathlessly beautiful and,
By an inherent prerogative,
Throws all the rest of life into a new and creative relatedness,
Something that gathers up in itself all the freshets of experience
From drab and commonplace areas of living and glows in
One bright white light of penetrating beauty and meaning . . . then passes.
The commonplace is shot through with new glory;
Old burdens become lighter;
Deep and ancient wounds lose much of their old, old hurting.
A crown is placed over our heads that for the rest of our lives
We are trying to grow tall enough to wear.
Despite all the crassness of life, despite all the hardness of life,
Despite all the harsh discords of life,
Life is saved by the singing of angels.

One Response

  1. Thanks much for this. Howard Thurman was a very, very special person. Here’s something else he said that I have found to be of great personal value:

    “The restlessness of our age, the churning tumult of our times, the quiet frustrations and the riotous frustrations in the midst of which we live, all these surround us in the quietness, and yet we recognize the privilege of unhurried contemplation, of laying ourselves bare to the searching processes of singleness of mind, the privilege of becoming aware of needs of which we are scarcely conscious in our fevered rush, the privilege of hearing voices that need not speak above a whisper in our hearts, pointing us to the way that we should take in the midst of our own problems and responsibilities, our own hopes, and our own fears. The time of regaining of quiet. The time of searching of heart. The time of regaining of perspective. The time of lifting of hopes about ourselves and the world. The time of insight. The time of the renewal of courage.” (Sermons on the Parables, p. 5)

    Ted Glick

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Fellowship of Reconciliation USA (FOR-USA) is the largest interfaith peace fellowship leading the charge on today’s most pressing human and civil rights issues through advocacy, activism, and educational programs.

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