The Church is like a tree with countless branches. Consider this, dear reader. Tell me: Where is the root of this tree and where does it draw its juice of life from? All trees are grounded in some foundation. Where is the ground in which the Church is rooted? Its roots are in Heaven and its branches are on earth. The roots are in the celestial Jerusalem, the branches are here, where we’re on pilgrimage. The triumphant Church is already in incomprehensible glory of eternal life and that’s the goal of the militant Church, which now is the light of the world. All Christians dispersed around the globe are beams of this light – or flares or just glomming wicks – but they originate from the true light of Christ and are on their way back to this source of light too.
O God of Sabaoth, Lord of hosts, return and look down from the heavens, look up and visit your vine. You have planted it, keep it upright and flourishing. You have elected it and you have permitted it to spread its branches worldwide. Protect and shield it!
We pray also for your sheep and all belonging to your herd. Let no one, pluck them from your hand. Let your holy Word, that bright and unchangeable light, shine brightly into the world. Provide help with your outstretched arm and keep your holy Christian Church throughout the punches and blows it receives, so that you may continue to have a people, who know you, who honor and worship you always + Comfort us, o God our savior and put off your displeasure from us. Guard and keep your Church, that depends entirely on you. Do this for your names sake, so that it will not be discredited. Do it for Christ’s sake – your dearly beloved Son and our Lord and God + Amen. (Wilhelm Löhe)
Preserve your holy Church, that you have ransomed with your holy blood and that you have entrusted to yourself, the Church, that is plummeted violently by the aggressive dragon. You be her buttress and sanctuary so that even if the entire world creaks and breaks, she will be preserved safe and sound in your good care!
Preserve us Lord as your holy inheritance, your treasured heirloom; tear apart, destroy and shatter all that opposes your authority, honour and name. Let your law keep, protect and guide us, grant us your heavenly bread, let your ornamentation dress us, heal us by your vicarious suffering, death and resurrection. (Adam Gretgen + 1660)
This is a translation of Wilhelm Löhe’s devotion for Monday after Laetare (4th Sunday in Lent). The prayer was translated rather literally and not poetically. Both are found on Pg. 139 in Lob sei Dir ewig, o Jesu! (Eternal Praise to you o Jesus!) edited by A. Schuster and published in the Freimund Verlag, Neuendettelsau 1949.