As we embark on a new year, let us give thanks:
that Jesus, Emmanuel, God is with us, in every circumstance
that we may have a fresh start with God every day though his forgiving grace
that we are part of a world-wide sisterhood, working together for a better world
that we are empowered through the Holy Spirit to do the will of God who calls us
that all things are possible with God.
Let us remember before God:
the people of Haiti, Italy, the Philippines and Pacific islands who have lost homes, loved ones, livelihoods through natural disaster or climate change and who are still in need of support to rebuild their lives;
the people of Syria, Lebanon, Sudan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nigeria and other regions who are facing daily conflict; those children who have never known what it is like to live without the sound of gunfire; those who are powerless to make their own decisions about where they will live and work;
those who have become victims of terrorism in France, Germany, the USA, Turkey and all those who are now fearful to venture out in their own communities;
those families who have become refugees, travelling vast distances and risking their lives in order to find a place of safety;
those women who are denied a voice because they live in a country that has an oppressive regime.
Let us ask our loving God:
to show us how we can make a difference to the lives of others
to equip us with the energy and skills we need to serve him faithfully
to give wisdom to the leaders of our churches and our nations
to make Christ known to us each day in the people we meet.
You may wish to use the poem of Minnie Louise Haskins:
And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:
“Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”
And he replied:
“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God.
That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”
So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night.
And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East.