Happy New Year to everyone and a blessed 2020!

Dear Congregation,

A New Year and a new decade begins next week on Wednesday. As we’re poised to leave 2019 behind, with all that it has contained of joys and sorrows, we pause to both look back and to look ahead.  I’d like to share with you a poem from a favorite book of prayers called, Guerrillas of Grace: Prayers for the Battle.  I was first introduced to it when I was in seminary.  Its author Ted Loder is a retired United Methodist pastor. Below is his prayer for New Year’s Day titled, “I Hold My Life Up to You Now.”  His last petition is my prayer for each of us in the coming year.

In Christ’s Love,

Pastor Candy Thomas
Interim Pastor
Christ Congregational United Church of Christ


Patient God,
the clock struck midnight
and I partied with a strange sadness in my heart,
confusion in my mind.
Now I ask you to gather me
for I realize
the storms of time have scattered me,
the furies of the year past have driven me,
many sorrows have scarred me,
many accomplishments have disappointed me,
much activity has wearied me,
and fear has spooked me into a hundred hiding places,
one of which is pretended gaiety.

I am sick of a string of “have-a-nice-day’s.”
What I want is passionate days, wondrous days, dangerous days,
blessed days, surprising days.
What I want is you!

Patient God,
this day teeters on the edge of waiting and things seem to slip away from me,
as though everything is only a memory and memory is capricious
Help me not to let my life slip away from me.
O God, I hold up my life to you now,
as much as I can, as high as I can, in this mysterious reach called prayer.
Come close, lest I wobble and fall short.
It is not days or years I seek from you,
not infinity and enormity,
but small things and moments and awareness,
awareness that you are in what I am
and in what I have been indifferent to.

It is not new time,
but new eyes, new heart I seek,
and you.

Patient God,
in this teetering time,
this time in the balance,
this time of waiting,
make me aware of moments,
moments of song, moments of bread and friends,
moments of jokes
(some of them on me)
which, for a moment, deflate my pomposities;
moments of sleep and warm beds,
moments of children laughing and parents bending,
moments of sunsets and sparrows, outspunking winter,
moments when broken things get mended
with glue or guts or mercy or imagination;
moments when splinters shine and rocks shrink,
moments when I know myself blest,
not because I am so awfully important,
but because you are so awesomely God,
no less of the year to come as of all the years past;
no less of this moment than of all my moments;
no less of those who forget you as of those who remember you,
as I do now, in this teetering time.
O Patient God,
make something new in me,
in this year,
for you.