‘even the thorn-bush by the wayside is aflame with the glory of God’ (Prayer)

Here is a prayer out of the Walter Rauschenbusch book of prayers “For God and the People: Prayers of the Social Awakening.” I believe at least the middle paragraph can be attributed to St. Basil.

O God, we thank Thee for this universe, our great home; for its vastness and its riches, and for the manifoldness of the life which teems upon it and of which we are part.

We praise Thee for the arching sky and the blessed winds, for the driving clouds and the constellations on high.We praise Thee for the salt sea and the running water, for the everlasting hills, for the trees, and for the grass under our feet.We thank Thee for our senses by which we can see the splendor of the morning, and hear the jubilant songs of love, and smell the breath of the springtime.

Grant us, we pray Thee, a heart wide open to all this joy and beauty, and save our souls from being so steeped in care or so darkened by passion that we pass heedless and unseeing when even the thorn-bush by the wayside is aflame with the glory of God.

Enlarge within us the sense of fellowship with all the living things, our little brothers, to whom thou hast given this earth as their home in common with us. We remember with shame that in the past we have exercised the high dominion of man with ruthless cruelty, so that the voice of the Earth, which should have gone up to thee in song, has been a groan of travail. May we realize that they live, not for us alone, but for themselves and for thee, and that they love the sweetness of life even as we, and serve thee in their place better than we in ours.

When our use of this world is over and we make room for others, may we not leave anything ravished by our greed or spoiled by our ignorance, but may we had on our common heritage fairer and sweeter through our use of it, undiminished in fertility and joy, that so our bodies may return in peace to the great mother who nourished them and our spirits may round the circle of a perfect life in thee.

—Walter Rauschenbusch

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Wess

...is the William R. Roger Director of Friends Center and Quaker Studies at Guilford College in Greensboro, NC., PhD in Intercultural Studies from Fuller Theological Seminary, served as a "released minister" at Camas Friends Church, and father of three. He enjoys sketchnoting, sharing conversation over coffee with a friend, listening to vinyl and writing creative nonfiction.

3 thoughts on “‘even the thorn-bush by the wayside is aflame with the glory of God’ (Prayer)”

  1. Thank you Wess, earlier this morning I was reflecting on Gods creation, how even the branches of the trees in the movement of the wind are praising God. For me, your post is very timely.
    I hope one day to spend a few hours with you, talking of life, God, and the direction of the Holy Spirit. I have so much to learn and value your input. Many blessings to you Wess,

    Shawn

  2. Hey Shawn, thank you for the response. I love it when things connect like this. I look forward to talking sometime soon!

  3. I beg to differ about your comment that the middle paragraph of the prayer comes from St. Basil. The entire prayer was written by Walter Rauschenbusch, just check the preface to his book Prayers of the Social Awakening in which the prayer your reproduce “For This World” comes from. The claim that St. Basil wrote the prayer “Enlarge within us a sense of fellowship” is sadly a literary hoax, and I have written a seven-part blog-post documenting how the hoax was created and why the prayers cannot possibly come from the fourth century Eastern Orthodox bishop St Basil.

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