It is easy to stand in the pulpit, or in the closet to kneel,
And say: "God do this; God do that!
Make the world better; relieve the sorrows of man; for the sake of thy Son.
Oh, forgive all sin!" Then having planned out God's work, to feel
Our duty is done.
It is easy to be religious this way--
Easy to pray.
It is harder to stand on the highway, or walk in the crowded mart,
And say "I am He. I am He.
Mine the world-burden; mine the sorrows of men; mine is the Christ-work
To forgive my brother's sin." and then to live the Christ-part
And never to shirk.
It is hard for you and me
To be religious this way,
Day after day.
But God is no longer in heaven; we drove him out with our prayers,
Drove him out with our sermons and creeds, and our endless plaints and despairs.
He came down over the borders, and Christ, too, came along.
They are looking the whole world over to see just what is wrong.
God has grown weary of hearing his praises sung on earth;
And Jesus is weary of hearing the story about his birth.
And the way to win their favor that is surer than any other,
Is to join in a song, of Brotherhood and praises of one another.
No; God is no longer in heaven. He has come down on earth to see
That nothing is wrong with the world he made; the wrong is in you and me.
He meant the earth for a garden-spot, where mill and factory stand;
Childhood, he meant for growing-time--but look at the toiling hand!
Woman was meant for mother and mate--now look at the slaves of lust.
And the good folks shake their heads and say, "We must pray to God and trust."
God has a billion books of our prayers unopened upon his shelves,
For the things we are begging of him to do, he wants us to do ourselves.
Jehovah, Jesus, and each soul in space
Are one, and undividable. Until
We see God shining in each neighbor's face
And find him in ourselves and hail him there,
Let us be still--
What use is prayer?
How can we love the whole and not each part?
How worship God, and harbor in the heart
Hate of God's members (for all men are that)?
Too long our souls have sat,
Like poor blind beggars, at the door of God.
He never made a beggar--we are kings!
Let us rise up, for it is time we trod
The mountain-tops; time that we did the things
We have so long asked God to do.
He waits for you
To look deep in your brother's eyes and see
The God within;
To hear you say "Lo, thou art He! Lo, thou art He!"
This is the only way to end all sin--
The difficult, one way.
A prayer without a deed is an arrow without a bowstring;
A deed without a prayer is a bowstring without an arrow.
The heart of a man should be like a quiver full of arrows,
And the hand of a man should be like a strong bow strung for action.
The heart of a man should keep his arrows ever ascending,
And the hand and the mind of a man should keep at a work unending.
By Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Cosmopolitan (June 1914): 72.
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