If we want to read and to pray the prayers of the Bible and especially the Psalms, therefore, we must not ask first what they have to do with us, but what they have to do with Jesus Christ...It does not depend, therefore, on whether the Psalms express adequately that which we feel at a given moment in our heart. If we are to pray aright, perhaps it is quite necessary that we pray contrary to our own heart. Not what we want to pray is important, but what God wants us to pray.
Oh, give our frightened souls the sure salvation for which, O Lord, You taught us to prepare. And when this cup You give is filled to brimming with bitter suffering, hard to understand, we take it thankfully and without trembling, out of so good and so beloved a hand. Yet when again in this same world You give us the joy we had, the brightness of Your Sun, we shall remember all the days we lived through, and our whole life shall then be Yours alone.
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Loving God means rejoicing in God, being eager to think of and pray to God. It means being glad to be in God's presence and to be with God alone. It means not grieving God, but rejoicing in God simply because it is God who is involved, and because we are permitted to know and have God, and to speak with and live with God.
It is remarkable how I am never quite clear about the motives for any of my decisions. Is that a sign of confusion or inner dishonesty or is it a sign that we are guided without our knowing or is it both ...The reasons one gives for an action to others and to one's self are certainly inadequate. One can give a reason for everything. In the last resort one acts from a level which remains hidden from us. So one can only ask God to judge us and to forgive us.... At the end of the day I can only ask God to give a merciful judgement on today and all its decisions. It is now in his hand.
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Let him who cannot be alone beware of community... Let him who is not in community beware of being alone... Each by itself has profound perils and pitfalls. One who wants fellowship without solitude plunges into the void of words and feelings, and the one who seeks solitude without fellowship perishes in the abyss of vanity, self-infatuation and despair.
Will not the very moment of great disillusionment with my brother or sister be incomparably wholesome for me becuase it so thoroughly teaches me that both of us can never live by our own words and deeds, but only by that one Word and deed that really binds us together, the forgiveness of sins in Jesus Christ? The bright day of Christian community dawns wherever the early morning mists of dreamy visions are lifting
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Christian community is like the Christian's sanctification. It is a gift of God which we cannot claim. Only God knows the real state of our fellowship, of our sanctification. What may appear weak and trifling to us may be great and glorious to God. Just as the Christian should not be constantly feeling his spiritual pulse, so, too, the Christian community has not been given to us by God for us to be constantly taking its temperature. The more thankfully we daily receive what is given to us, the more surely and steadily will fellowship increase and grow from day to day as God pleases.
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Innumerable times a whole Christian community has broken down because it had sprung from a wish dream... Every human wish dream that is injected into the Christian community is a hindrance to genuine community and must be banished if genuine community is to survive. He who loves his dream of a community more than the Christian community itself becomes a destroyer of the latter, even though his personal intentions may be ever so honest and earnest and sacrificial.
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Christianity means community through Jesus Christ and in Jesus Christ. No Christian community is more or less than this. Whether it is a brief, single encounter or the daily fellowship of years, Christian community is only this. We belong to one another only through and in Jesus Christ.
In the first place, the church can ask the state whether its actions are legitimate and in accordance with its character as state, i.e., it can throw the state back on its responsibilities. Secondly, it can aid the victims of state action. The church has an unconditional obligation to the victims of any ordering of society, even if they do not belong to the Christian community. The third possibility is not just to bandage the victims under the wheel, but to put a spoke in the wheel itself.
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