In the spirit of those wonderful “gift of the month clubs”, we offer a year’s worth of prayers by Maria Bergius Krämer. She introduces these prayers with some description of the tradition of New Years’ worship in her congregation.
Prayer for a Budding Year
In my congregation, tradition dictates
that the worship service on New Year’s Eve is a solemn affair, focusing
on the ending of a year. Not surprising, it is also a rather thinly
populated affair. On New Year’s Day, we celebrate a full Eucharistic
service. At eleven in the morning. Usually, this also is a worship service
ignored by many. Not so this year, since it was the congregation’s 60th birthday.
But I find myself wishing for a
worship service that exudes hope and joy. One that looks forward to
a new year as one that could possibly be the one when God’s love is
allowed to shine in the world, one when there actually could be peace.
I long for someone to actually dare to express it. Is this the year
we’ve all been longing for? Is 2009 the year of our Lord?
But I am not the one who dictates
the form of worship in this congregation. And while I do have a lot
of influence, I cannot change and will not change, it all at once. So
for now, I pray. I pray for peace and love, and for a year that is just
budding. I throw out all of the doomsday prophecies. I pray for joy,
and this is my prayer.
God of promises and covenants,
help us NOT to make any rash promises this year. No New Year’s resolutions,
no ”I’ll look into it as soon as I can”. You know us, Lord, and
you know our people. Help us do our very best, to commit to each other
and our mission, and not to promise ourselves to anything else but you
and our own healths.
God of love and infatuation, as
Valentine’s Day draws near, be with us all in our struggle for and with
and in love. We need your nourishment and support, whether we are love
or not, whether we have someone to come home to or not, whether we struggle
with not loving, or not.
God of all things and creatures
growing, let us this Spring rejoice in life returning. Teach us to see
your power in the flowers that spring out, the leaves that unfold their
delicate greenness, in the milder winds that bring us the scent of life.
God of life returning, hear our
thanks for your gift of life. Help us this Easter to remember, with
all that we are, your overflowing compassion and the sacrifice you made.
Accept our tears as we mourn your Son, and accept our laughter as we
greet Him again, and with Him the promise of life everlasting.
God of mystery and questions, hear
our questions when we are left on Ascension hill. We ask you, God, to
meet our loneliness and confusion, and to fill us with the same sense
of communion that the disciples were given through your Spirit. Make
us disciples, Lord, in spirit as well as in profession.
God of fire and water, grant us
the fire of the Spirit. Lead us into the Summer of life, shining with
the joy of you. Help us renew our strength and delight in days of long
awaited leisure, or days filled with the challenges and rewards of camp.
And give us the water of life,
make it flow from us to all of your people.
God of lazy days and busy hours,
be with us as the heat of Summer descends into our lives. Help us carry
meaning and faith to those who stand alone, to those who are thrown
to the ground, to those that cannot carry anything themselves anymore.
God of ripeness and fulfillment,
give us the strength to start anew, the energy to plan for visions yet
unrealized and the sense of presence to fully enjoy all that you give
us. Let us taste your goodness, and share it with others.
God of fullness and color, lead
us in the dance of life, and give us the wisdom to see the beauty of
Fall, whether it be the long warm evenings of an Indian summer, or the
first frostbitten leaves. Help us relish endings as well as beginnings,
learning to trust your promise to be with us always.
God of light and dark, as the darkness
spreads, help us remember that you are our light, a light that never
dies. In the midst of night, be with us, as your Son shared the night
with us. Give us peace, Lord, in mind as well as in body. As individuals
and nations. Grant us peace.
God of homecoming and thankfulness,
remind us, as we move into Winter, to thank you always for all the good
things in our lives. Help us also to thank you for lessons learned,
and to ask you for the strength to fight the injustices that stand in
the way of thankfulness.
God of young and old, prepare us
this Advent to receive you among us. Open our eyes to see your eyes
in the face of a begging teenager, to feel your hands as the hands of
an old woman dying, to carry you swaddled in blankets to the waiting
arms of a mother just delivered. Help us share your joy, not bought.
Help us share your love, not forced. Help us to share, because you are
God of community and covenant.