Thursday, December 31
This will be my last note to you this year – not because I’m going anywhere – but because this is the last day of the year!
“See you next year!” is a common joke people make in late December, but more than any other year I truly yearn for this statement to be true as the reality is, it may be a while until we can see each other face to face again. Who would have thought we’d be at this point last year at this time?
In a way, it can be good that we don’t always know what’s ahead of us. Imagine if we could have predicted what would take place in 2020 – would it have made much of a difference for the better? I look back at the toilet paper scare of late March and laugh, but also realize that this was a real example of how, sometimes, our human response in the face of adversity is to panic first, think second.
As we round the corner on 2020 and anxiously wave it goodbye tonight at midnight, we look into the future and collectively hope that 2021 will be better year. This year has brought many surprises, many of them negative. Yet every negative has a silver lining, and for me, the silver linings of this year have included how resilient we can be, and how we can indeed change if we need to. This year has also helped to shine light on racial injustice and the need to reform our elder care, among other issues. It has shown us that there are some necessary changes that we must make, if we indeed hope to welcome in a better future for all.
Many churches tonight will be holding special Watchnight services in celebration of New Year’s Eve. Watchnight services are a chance for Christians to come together to review the year that has passed, and make confessions before preparing for the year ahead. Although we may not be gathering together tonight, we can still take this moment as an opportunity for reflection and discernment. We can still review the year gone by, to see where we may have fallen short of our potential, and to prepare for the New Year with prayer and resolutions.
As a pastor friend of mine wrote recently “2021 will arrive with its own set of challenges and the more we are surrendered to God’s will, the better we will live and make a difference in the world.” It is the Christian hope that in times of adversity we will have the spiritual strength and wisdom to pray first, and act second.
If one of your resolutions is to strengthen your faith in 2021, here is a round-up of recommendations from our preachers:
Bibleproject.com – A read the Bible in a year app with some great videos
Scriptureunion.ca – A verse a day email with Scripture and a short reflection and prayer
The Daily Devotional – Another verse a day email with a devotional included
Pray-as-you-go.org – For audiobook lovers –a 10-15 minute daily audio time of worship
Missionstclare.com – Traditional Morning and Evening prayer app
Sacredspace.ie – Daily guided meditation that you read, combining prayer and scripture.
Centering Prayer App – An app to help you grow deeper into contemplative prayer
If you have another app you love, that helps you grow your faith – please share it with me. Whatever your resolution – please know that the clergy team and I are here to support you and would be happy to sit down with you as needed to support you.
See you Next Year – and Happy New Year!
Prayer at the Turn of a New Year:
On this edge of years
the crossroads between past and future
we come as who we have been
and offer you who we might yet be
Take this offering of ourselves
a new promise to be your people here
holding a renewed vision of your reign here
that we might be light
and follow you anew
as we journey across borders of time
and find new years
to be your renewed people. Amen.
- Rev’d Roddy G Hamilton, Church of Scotland