Rev. Sammie Maxwell
NEW YEAR’S DAY PRAYER
There is something completely magical about gateways, O God. It is hardly any wonder that the ancients often regarded them as pathways to blessing. We, too, have a sense of their mystery and intrigue as we begin another year. We are leaving behind one chapter of our lives and opening another. We are now sensitive to the burdens we have borne in the previous year—all the illnesses, losses, failures, mistakes, broken promises, disrupted friendships, and unfulfilled dreams. But we are also keenly aware of the possibilities that lie before us— possibilities of new relationships, new growth, new work to do, and new experiences of ourselves. We pray for the strength not to fail you in the coming year or to fail ourselves; for when we fail you, we fail ourselves. Enable us to live passionately and courageously, deeply energized by the spirit of love and harmony that flows from you. Make it easier for us to say the right words, do the right things, and construct the right future. Save us from any temptations to direct our paths. Let our faith and companionship with Christ give us stability when the seas around us are rough and a sense of gratitude when they are not. Teach us to serve you in ways that will make our world more loving and more spiritual. And let us regard this particular gateway—the beginning of a new year—as a passageway to a closer and finer relationship with your spirit. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
(Adapted from God’s People at Prayer by John Killinger, Abingdon Press 2006. Reprinted with permission.) “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.” Genesis 8:22. A TIME OF NEW BEGINNINGS “This is a day of new beginnings, time to remember and move on, time to believe what love is bringing, laying to rest the past that’s gone.” These are the words of a hymn in our United Methodist Hymnal (#383). I share them with you as a way of celebrating the coming of the new year. The Christian faith, like the Hebrew tradition out of which it was born, is inherently a future-oriented way of understanding and living life. When the ancient Israelites celebrated the exodus from Egypt, they not only acknowledged that God had delivered them from slavery in the past but also expressed the hope that God would act in the future to bring in the reign of peace and justice for all humankind. And, of course, Jesus expresses that same hope when he announces that the Kingdom, or Rule, of God, has actually drawn near. The Church on the Cape Newsletter 2 The coming of winter, the changing of any of the seasons, is an apt symbol of the fact that all of life is lived in the context of time—of movement, of change. One of the distinctive things about our Christian faith is our belief that God is active in the passing of time, always luring us free from the past and offering opportunities for a new beginning. Let now be a time to think and pray about new beginnings in life, especially the life of the Church on the Cape. —Rev. Sammie