Bishop Ward welcomes in the new year by reflecting on the text from Ecclesiastes 3 and on the Covenant Prayer in the Wesleyan Tradition (UMH #607).
Grace and peace to you as the new year comes. We give thanks to God for the gift of life in the passing of the old year and the coming of the new. It’s a time to reflect upon all that has been and to look toward all that will be.
Methodists from the earliest times have gathered on Watch Night, New Year’s Eve, to re-covenant with God, to remember the covenant which God has with us and the covenant which we make with God. We use a prayer that is beautiful indeed. The prayer helps us remember that we are God’s and not our own and we ask God to put us to what God would have us do – for God to assign us to our work, for God to lift us up or to bring us low, for all our life to be God’s.
The text appointed for New Year’s Day is from Ecclesiastes 3, a beautiful and probing meditation on time. The preacher writes in the book of Ecclesiastes, “There is a time for everything – everything. There’s a time to be born and there’s a time to die. There’s a time to laugh and there’s a time to weep. There’s a time to work and there’s a time to rest.” And on, the beautiful scripture goes.
We give thanks for all these times. We are indeed in God’s hands, whether we sleep or whether we rise or whether we work or whether we rest; whether we live or whether we die.
In this new year, may we be fully God’s, day by day and may God’s beautiful light break upon us as 2016 comes.