A prayer on the threshold of the year

Dear God, most gracious, whose creature is time, we are ready for a new year:

This one has been full of pestilence and plague, dissent and derision, violence, victims, virulence that ebbs only to regather and return with, “and one more thing…”

We have lost heroes. War has ended not in peace but the descent into chaos. Rumours of war abound and weapons of war surround us on our very streets, in our very homes.

Justice like a dripping tap stuttered and startled, left its stains, but would not wash clean. 

For a moment, it looked as though the throne of our secular religion had fallen. Is this when we turn to you?

This morning, the sun shines and I am reminded that in this year children were born, love blossomed, there was marriage and giving in marriage, as in the days before the flood.

John Linnell, Noah, The Eve of the Flood. Cleveland Museum of Art, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Dear God, are we ready for a new year? Already it is at hand, already it has arrived on distant shores and makes its way towards us like a steam ship, like a migration. Time, your creature, our sibling and companion, orbits us.

How will we greet it: as a child of your mercy or an angel of your justice or an incarnation of your endurance?

The year of our God is at hand, and will we remember to repent? Will our resolutions be a collage of the great commandments: covenant, compassion, creative cooperation with the confounding mercy of our God?

Will we still the dripping tap or ease its turning to a torrent?

How will a small thing such as one of us turn the tide on chaos? We share a decima of our DNA with viruses. Our smallness is no reason to be shy.

Outside my window, sun pierces cloud and I remember how small instances, slivers of time, stay with us, as though eternity were not broad but the deepest cut.

Dear God, make me ready for a new year. But not yet. Not yet.

First, there is today, before tomorrow comes with joy and sorrow, worries of its own.

First, there is this day, that God has made.

First, as though rehearsing for a new year, the sweeping in of time like a bride; for now, this is the day that God has made: let us be glad in it.

About Rosalind C Hughes

Rosalind C Hughes is a priest and author living near the shores of Lake Erie. After growing up in England and Wales, and living briefly in Singapore, she is now settled in Ohio. She serves an Episcopal church just outside Cleveland. Rosalind is the author of A Family Like Mine: Biblical Stories of Love, Loss, and Longing , and Whom Shall I Fear? Urgent Questions for Christians in an Age of Violence, both from Upper Room Books. She loves the lake, misses the ocean, and is finally coming to terms with snow.
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