Full St. Nick's News for December 5, 2023 Dear Friends, This past Sunday, we had…
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
It’s going to sound so cliché to say, I can’t believe we are entering a new year… but seriously! I can’t believe we are entering a new year already! What a year this has been!!!
I am reminded of one of my favorite prayers for children by Sophie Piper. Sophie Piper is known for her stories of faith and prayer books for children. I’m sure you will find many of her books in our Pray Ground Library. In her book, Prayers for a Better World, she prays for the Old and New.
Old and New by Sophie Piper
Thank you, dear God, for the blessing of things that stay the same:
for the people we have known for ever and the familiar paths where we walk.
Thank you, dear God, for the blessing of things that change:
for newcomers with their new customs, new ways of doing things, new paths to discover.
Thank you, dear God, for the blessing of the old and the blessing of the new. Amen.
I love this prayer! It serves as a reminder that our Christian tradition embraces those who have gone before us – their traditions, witness, and foundation of love. But we also know that God and our faith are dynamic. We are a people who embrace transformation and change and are called to continually grow in love, forgiveness, and faith.
As a new and growing church community, it seems like everything we do is new. This past year, we have been fixing up a new building, and learning about our new space, making new friends, and exploring new ministry opportunities both in and out of the church! Again, everything seems new!
But we also have deep connections to Christians who have come before us, and our faith and life together is built on the trust and belief of God’s Love for us through Christ Jesus. The scriptures we read on Sundays (the Revised Common Lectionary) are read by Christians all over the world. Our Book of Common Prayer is shared throughout the world as well. Our adherence to the church year and our celebration of saints and holy days are also traditions that have been handed down by other faithful Christians.
This sweet prayer from Sophie Piper reminds us to continue to tend to our existing relationships and habits, but to also embrace and seek new relationships and habits. Not a bad thing to be reminded of as faithful Christians! It is so easy to be comfortable and rest in the familiar. There is no doubt in my mind that we are called, in this new year, to meet new friends and neighbors, to cultivate new ministry opportunities internally and externally, and to embrace growth and transformation in Jesus our Lord.
I believe God is with us in the old and new. God lives with us in the tension between familiar and change. Somehow God is at work in the sharing of comfort in the old stories and shared memories of friends just as God is whispering excitement in the new relationships formed and new stories shared.
So…Happy Old Year. And… Happy New Year.
Thank you, God, for the blessing of the old and the blessing of the new. Amen.
God’s Peace, Love, and Blessings,