Tag Archives: New year

New Year

2014-06-02 20.24.04

As the year turns over,
I find myself acutely aware
of life and death,
of despair and hope,
of joy and sorrow,
of pain and promise,
of what has been
and what is to come

So…

“I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year: “Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”
And he replied:
“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”
So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night. And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East.”

God Knows by Minnie Louise Haskins

Covenant Sunday

Today, many Methodist Churches mark Covenant Sunday

As the Methodist Church Website tells us,

Methodists hold an annual Covenant Service, at which we celebrate all that God has done for us, and affirm that we give our lives and choices to God.

The traditional Covenant prayer (shown below) makes it very clear that this affirmation is a serious one that embraces the whole of our life, in all its parts. Most people find it quite tough to say, and really mean it. But the prayer is so central to the Christian life that other Churches have also adopted it.

In our culture we tend to prize our ability to make decisions and choose our own path in life. It can feel very hard to give that up. But this prayer is like a love poem. It is about surrendering to God in love and joy.

These are powerful words, and my heart always makes an additional flutter, as in The Methodist Worship Book, the facing page has the Ordination Service.  I share them with you, if they make help you focus your new year on and through God

I am no longer my own but yours.
Put me to what you will,
rank me with whom you will;
put me to doing,
put me to suffering;
let me be employed for you,
or laid aside for you,
exalted for you,
or brought low for you;
let me be full,
let me be empty,
let me have all things,
let me have nothing:
I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things
to your pleasure and disposal.
And now, glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
you are mine and I am yours.

New Year, Same Old?

So the years turn another page.  Tomorrow it will be 2012.  In essence it will be no different today. Just another date, the turning of one more second, the chiming of 12 bongs of Big Ben.

But it is all just a number.  An artificial construct.  For in some places in the world it is already 2012, and others will follow.  Like waking up on the day of your birthday, you feel no different to when you went to bed the night before, it’s just another day.

There can be the feeling of a new page, a new chapter, new possibilities – or there may the same old feelings of despair, longing and ‘same old same old’.

We may wonder what this new year may bring, or we may be horribly aware of what it will entail.  We may have something lovely to look forward to, or know that nothing will have changed, or something is looming that we wish wasn’t.  Whatever it is, good, bad or indifferent, we do not face it alone. We can walk, with our hand firmly in God’s. He accompanies us.  And in that we can walk in hope.

The strength and the courage to face the new year are summed up in this famous poem by Marie Louise Haskins (1876 – 1957)

And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:

“Give me a light, that I may tread safely into the unknown!”

And he replied:

“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God.

That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”

So, I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night

And He led me toward the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East.

So, heart, be still!

What need our little life,

Our human life, to know,

If God hath comprehension?

In all the dizzy strife

Of things both high and low

God hideth His intention.

Whether it is darkness we feel we are stepping into, or glorious light, we do not walk alone, we walk with God.  He is beside us all the way, holding us.  Things will not change miraculously overnight just because the date is different, but the God who has travelled with us this far still holds us tight.

Lord,

whatever I am walking into,

may I feel your presence.

Thank you that you hold on to me tightly.

For the things I am dreading,

into the things that are exciting,

in the things I am wondering about,

for the things I am worrying about,

for the things I hope for,

and the things I cannot imagine

– thank you that I do not walk alone,

but go

holding your hand