J.S. Woodsworth lived from 1874 to 1942. He was the first leader of the Canadian Co-operative Commonwealth (CCF) an early socialist party that was the forerunner of the present New Democratic Party but far more radical. He served for many years as representative for a Winnipeg constituency in the Canadian federal parliament.
Woodsworth was a Methodist preacher but later left the church. He was a leftist evangelical Christian. For some time he lived in Brandon Manitoba. This prayer was given in a Labor Church in Winnipeg Manitoba that was founded in 1918. For more see the Wikipedia entry here.
Thanks to Stefan Jonasson for steering me to this prayer.
A Prayer" by J.S. Woodsworth
We meet together as brothers and sisters of the one big family.
We confess that we have not yet learned to live together in love and unity. We have thought too much of our own interests and too little of the common welfare. We have enjoyed and even sought special privileges. Our own gain has often involved another's loss. We are heartily sorry for these, our misdoings; the memory of them is grievous unto us.
We acknowledge that we are still divided into alien groups separated from one another, by barriers of language, race and nationality; by barriers of class and creed and custom. May we overcome prejudice. May we seek to find common ground. May we recognize the beauty in other types than our own. As we claim that our own convictions should be respected, so may we respect the convictions of others. May we grow in moral stature until we can join hands over the separating walls. May we enter into the joy of a common fellowship.
We have learned how imperfect is our knowledge, how narrow our vision. May we be willing to welcome truth from whatever source it comes. May we endeavour to follow the truth at whatever cost.
We would remember that the things that are seen are temporal; that the things that are not seen are eternal. May we judge things by their spiritual values. May we estimate success by high standards and, in our own lives, reject the temptation of a low aim and easy attainment.
We would be wide in our sympathies and generous in our living. If we have more than others, may we accept our heavier responsibilities. We would extend to others that indulgence which we crave for ourselves.
We are grateful for the lives of all the wise and good who have made this world a better place in which to live. May we enter into their spirit and carry forward their work.
We pledge ourselves to united effort in establishing on the earth an era of justice and truth and love.
May our faces be toward the future. May we be children of the brighter and better day which even now is beginning to dawn. May we not impede, but rather co-operate with, the great spiritual forces, which, we believe, are, impelling the world onward and upward.
- James Shaver (J.S.) Woodsworth, written for the Winnipeg Labor Church, 1920