...so very different
This is an excerpt from a letter he wrote from prison to his nephew who was to be baptized.
"Today you will be baptized a Christian. All those great ancient words of the Christian proclamation will be spoken over you, and the command of Jesus Christ to baptize will be carried out on you, without you knowing anything about it. But we are once again being driven right back to the beginnings of our understanding. Reconciliation and redemption, regeneration and the Holy Spirit, love of our enemies, cross and resurrection, life in Christ and Christian discipleship-all these things are so difficult and so remote that we hardly venture any more to speak of them.
In the traditional words and acts we suspect that there may be something quite new and revolutionary, though we cannot yet grasp or express it. That is our own fault. Our church, which has been fighting in these years only for self-preservation, as though that were an end in itself, is incapable of taking the word of reconciliation and redemption to mankind and the world.
Our earlier words are therefore bound to lose their force and cease, and our being Christian today will be limited to two things: prayer and righteous action among men. All Christian thinking, speaking, and organizing must be born anew out of this prayer and action. By the time you have grown up, the church's form will have changed greatly. We are not yet out of the melting pot, and any attempt to help the church prematurely to a new expansion of its organization will merely delay its conversion and purification.
It is not for us to prophesy the day (though the day will come) when men will once more be called so to utter the word of God that the world will be changed and renewed by it. It will be a new language, perhaps quiet.... non-religious.... but liberating and redeeming - as was Jesus' language; It will shock people and yet overcome them by its power; it will be the language of a new righteousness and truth, proclaiming God's peace with men and the coming of His kingdom.
' They shall fear and tremble because of all the good and all the prosperity I provide for it"(Jer. 33:9) Till then the Christian cause will be silent and hidden affair, but there will be those who pray and do right and wait for God's own time. May you be one of them, and may it be said of you one day. ' The path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter till the full day'. "
That was written about 65 years ago..... God is still waiting for His people to become that kind of people...... what's wrong with today!