Blessing for the New Year

We’ve entered a new year. Many of us have made (or chosen not to make) resolutions for 2022 to better our lives, relationships, and the world. Our church is even undergoing some renovations for a brighter year (and future). 

Yet, there is much in the world that threatens our loftiest of goals and our most down to earth resolutions. Our world, while filled with more technology and even greater weapons of mass destruction, is in many ways the same world that Jesus was born into. Joseph and Mary had hopes and dreams for their new life together and as we recall from our story from Matthew last Sunday, the world and threats turned on their hopes and goals and sent them fleeing to Egypt.

This Sunday, we turn to the Baptism of Jesus and find this profoundly holy moment where God’s claim on Jesus as God’s beloved child is made plain to the world and yet in a moment Jesus is sent out into the desert to be tested. 

Indeed, much of life is betwixt and between our greatest hopes and fears. Ian Cowie in the book, Hay and Stardust, offers us the kind of blessing we need at the start of a New Year. I invite you to stand wherever you are and read this blessing prayer:

We stand to face the future:
God behind us in the past;
Christ before us, the way ahead;
Christ beside us in this moment;
Christ beneath us in our weakness;
Christ above us to shield us – 
beneath the shadow of his wings we are safe; 
Christ between us to bind us in the unity of his love;
Christ in us, equipping us with his all-sufficient grace. 
Thus armed, guided, and protected we face the new year. 
Now we arise and go forth on the journey before us,
knowing that, where Christ leads, life is a journey home. 
Therefore, we travel in faith, in hope, and in love,
in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. 
May the blessing of God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit, 
be upon us
and upon all this year
and to all eternity. Amen. 

May the start of 2022 be blessed!