Saturday, December 31, 2016

A final Compline prayer for 2016

Remembering the past year and anticipating the one to come may be difficult for many this particular New Year's Eve. Here's something I wrote as my prayer for Compline on this night in which 2016 ends and 2017 begins (with a couple of echoes of the Book of Common Prayer and the New Zealand Prayer Book):

O God, it is night at the end of a long year. 2016 has brought us varied experiences. We have experienced you as God-with-us in "sacraments of the present moment" by which we receive the grace of your life-giving presence in various expressions of your creation--loved ones, strangers, creation itself, opportunities to participate in your work in the world for its salvation. For these graces we give you thanks.

We have also experienced or observed what has sometimes felt like your absence from this world--alienation instead of love, discord instead of harmony, exclusion instead of welcome, violence instead of peace, poverty instead of provision, hunger instead of nourishment, despair instead of hope. These things we lament, knowing that you lament them, too.

We have recognized, though often not as fully as we should, our own complicity in these things, our failures to lament them as we ought, and our refusals to participate in what you are doing to transform these aspects of our world in the direction of your good intentions for it during the past year. These things we confess as sin, and we ask for your forgiveness.

But this night ushers in a new day and a new year. For 2017 we ask the help of your Spirit, that in this new year we might delight in your will and walk in your ways that you have made known to us in Jesus Christ, for the glory of your name and for the good of your world.

Now guide us waking, O Lord, and guard us sleeping, that awake we may watch with Christ and asleep we may rest in peace. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.