A Prayer for the New Year

On this first day of 2021, I greet you with thoughts and words of hope and expectations for a good year and offer this prayer:

Gracious God, Thank you for bringing us through a difficult year and giving us the chance to live into a new and hopeful time. As we look back on 2020 we realize there were times of great joy in the midst of it all – beauty around us, births and milestone birthdays, healings and opportunities to grow in our lives and our faith.

There were also many struggles in the year just past. We don’t have to name them for you, God, as you know them better than we do. We take a moment to pray for those who mourn the loss of someone dear and ask that your tender hand comfort them. We pray for strength for those who care for the sick and injured or who simply are with those who are suffering or alone. Thank you for being with all of us through it all.

Now we look with hope toward a new year. As we turn our calendar pages, turn our hearts so that we draw ever closer to you. Work with medical professionals, scientists and world and community leaders to bring an end to the COVID pandemic. Help us with the fair distribution of a reliable vaccine. Inspire us to help one another by continuing life practices that point toward healing.

Heal our country, O God. Work in the hearts of leaders and all your people to bring an end to division so all your people can have what they need for a safe and healthy life. Strengthen our resolve to end racial injustice, working with, rather than against, one another.

We know all this is a tall order, God. But we trust that you are there, working and moving, inviting us to share in your work and bring about your abiding love. We entrust our lives to your guidance, wisdom and care. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

This Sunday, Jan. 3, we celebrate Epiphany (the coming of the magi to Jesus) and Holy Communion. Have your elements ready to share in communion – a piece of bread or cracker and juice or another beverage. You can join worship at 9:45 a.m. on our website: umcstmarks.org/live-worship or Facebook St. Mark’s Tucson or YouTube UMC St. Mark’s Oro Valley. Invite someone else to join in worship, too.

On Jan. 10 we begin a new worship theme for 2021 – “Love is …”

New year blessings,