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Call to Worship – December 30, 2018

The coming of a new year can bring both joy and sorrow: joy, because we look forward with anticipation to good things, and sorrow, because we might look back with heavy hearts over painful events which have transpired in the year gone by.  But the turn of the calendar reminds us also of the grace of God, which guides us through all our months and years.  With gratitude in our hearts, let us therefore, with confidence, worship the God who has brought us to yet another new year.

Pastoral Prayer

            Loving God, we thank Thee for the assurance of Thy presence we have had during the past year, and for the promise we feel for that presence with us in the year to come.  We marvel at how time passes for us, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly, at times happily, and at other times with deep sorrow.  Yet pass it does, and we believe Thou art with us each moment of each day, year after year.  Help us, O God, especially in difficult times, to be reminded of Thy love which never fails, regardless of what obstacles may confront us.  Teach us how to go forward with confidence, even when events feel as though they have turned against us.  Keep us from supposing that life was ever intended to be free of challenges, and enable us to perceive Thy presence with us in the midst of every difficult challenge.


            We pray for people who have lost loved ones in the past year.  Grant them strength and stamina when they feel weak and depleted.  We pray for those who shall lose loved ones in the year to come, whether or not they or the loved ones are aware of it.  We pray also for those who shall never again celebrate another New Year’s Day, especially if they are totally unaware of and unprepared for that sober reality.  Great God, we sing that mighty hand by which supported still we stand.  Give to us the serenity of spirit which enables us to traverse the passing of the years unafraid, trusting in Thine unceasing goodness.


            We pray Thy blessing on all who currently are bearing particularly heavy burdens: where important relationships have frayed or come apart; where illness has threatened wellbeing, rendering the future very cloudy; where people have tried to follow Thy will, only to experience major rejection which leaves them hurt and broken; where the best intentions have resulted in the worst of circumstances, and no solution seems possible.  Give all of us the faith necessary to withstand all the painful reverses life brings us, knowing that somehow Thou wilt see us through everything, until at last we shall see Thee in a new year and a new life which shall never end.  These things we pray in the name of Jesus, who brings us a new covenant and a new hope.  Now we pray together as he taught his first followers, saying, Our Father….

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