Greetings to the People Called “Methodist” in Eastern Germany and Western Pennsylvania:
What challenges we have seen in the year that is past! Many times we have thought of one another, and prayed for one another, as we have heard of the events in each other’s countries. Our prayers are with each other as we begin this New Year of 2021 in the strength of our trans-Atlantic partnership.
For our New Year’s Prayer, we offer the words of the famous German-American minister and theologian Walter Rauschenbusch. Walter Rauschenbusch (1861-1918) was a German-Baptist minister and leading theologian in the Social Gospel movement of the early 20th Century. He served congregations among impoverished workers in New York City and worked to improve social conditions and end child labor, inspiring leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr., and Mahatma Gandhi. In the midst of the challenges of these current times, we believe that the words of his prayer could be inspirational for us all.
O God of all times and places,
we pray for your Church,
which is set today amid the perplexities of a changing order,
and face to face with new tasks.
Baptize her afresh in the life–giving spirit of Jesus.
Bestow upon her a great responsiveness to duty,
a swifter compassion with suffering,
and an utter loyalty to your will.
Help her to proclaim boldly the coming of your kingdom.
Put upon her lips the ancient gospel of her Lord.
Fill her with the prophets' scorn of tyranny,
and with a Christlike tenderness for the heavyladen and downtrodden.
Bid her cease from seeking her own life, lest she lose it.
Make her valiant to give up her life to humanity,
that, like her crucified Lord,
she may mount by the path of the cross to a higher glory;
through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.