Found this gem looking through a reader on ecclesiology today.1
O God, we pray for thy Church, which is set to-day amid the perplexities of a changing order, and face to face with a great new task. We remember with love the nurture she gave to our spiritual life in its infancy, the tasks she set for our growing strength, the influence of the devoted hearts she gathers, the steadfast power for good she has exerted.
When we compare her with all human institutions, we rejoice, for there is none like her. But when we judge her by the mind of her Master, we bow in pity and contrition. Oh, baptize her afresh in the life-giving spirit of Jesus! Grant her a new birth, though it be with the travail of repentance and humiliation.
Bestow upon her a more imperious responsiveness to duty, a swifter compassion with suffering, and an utter loyalty to the will of God. Put upon her lips the ancient gospel of her Lord. Help her to proclaim boldly the coming of the Kingdom of God and the doom of all that resist it. Fill her with the prophets’ scorn of tyranny, and with a Christ-like tenderness for the heavy-laden and down-trodden.
Give her faith to espouse the cause of the people, and in their hands that grope after freedom and light to recognize the bleeding hands of Christ. Bid her cease from seeking her own life, lest she lose it. Make her valiant to give her life to humanity, that like her crucified Lord she may mount by the path of the cross to a higher glory.2
Walter Rauschenbusch, “For the Church” (1909)
- Image Source
- Stone, Bryan P, Professor. Reader in Ecclesiology, Ashgate Publishing Ltd, 2013. ProQuest Ebook Central. pg. ix.