Liturgy - The procedure used for public worship services which includes the official church forms established for special occasions
The spirit of love, concern, and carefulness which the church is to exercise in excommunicating a member or readmitting an excommunicant can be felt from reading the church prayers at the close of both forms for these purposes in our church liturgy, as printed below.
PUBLIC PRAYERS IN OUR CHURCH FORMS:
For Readmitting Excommunicated Persons
O! Righteous God and merciful Father, we bewail our sins before Thy high majesty, and acknowledge that we have deserved the grief and sorrow caused unto us by the cutting off of this our late fellow-member; yea, we all deserve, shouldst Thou enter into judgment with us, by reason of our great transgressions, to be cut off and banished from Thy presence. - But 0 Lord, Thou art merciful unto us for Christ's sake; forgive us our trespasses, for we heartily repent of them, and daily work in our hearts a greater measure of sorrow for them; that we may, fearing Thy judgments which Thou executest against the stiffnecked, endeavor to please Thee; grant us to avoid all pollution of the world, and those who are cut off from the communion of the Church, that we may not make ourselves partakers of their sins; and that he who is excommunicated may become ashamed of his sins; and since Thou desirest not the death of a sinner, but that he may repent and live, and the bosom of Thy Church is always open for those, who turn away from their wickedness; we therefore humbly beseech Thee, to kindle in our hearts a pious zeal, that we may labor, with good Christian admonitions and examples, to bring again this excommunicated person on the right way, together with all those, who, through unbelief or dissoluteness of life, go astray.
Give Thy blessing to our admonitions, that we may have reason thereby to rejoice again in him, for whom we must now mourn, and that Thy holy Name may be praised, through our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath taught us to pray: Our Father, etc.
Gracious God and Father, we thank Thee through Jesus Christ, that Thou hast been pleased to give this our fellow-brother repentance unto life, and us cause to rejoice in his conversion. We beseech Thee, show him Thy mercy, that he may become more and more assured in his mind of the remission of his sins, and that he may receive from thence inexpressible joy and delight, to serve Thee. And whereas he hath heretofore by his sins offended many, grant that he may, by his conversion, edify many. Grant also that he may steadfastly walk in Thy ways to the end: and may we learn from this example, that with Thee is mercy, that Thou mayest be feared; and that we, counting him for our brother and co-heir of life eternal, may jointly serve Thee with filial fear and obedience all the days of our life, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, in whose Name we thus conclude our prayer: Our Father which art in heaven. Hallowed be Thy Name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For Thine is the kingdom, and the power and the glory, for ever. Amen.
If exercised properly, how do both excommunication and readmission reveal the church's love for its members?
May God grant that all church members may value their Church Visible benefits and sense their accompanying responsibilities. May no one, however, rest short of the inward, saving, eternal benefits of the essence of the church - its spiritual, living reality, the Church Invisible. This is the essential meaning of the church, the bride of Christ, the body which shall be taken up to live forever with its Head - the Lord Jesus Christ. Apart from this Church there is no salvation. Are you a living member of it?