Sunday’s Scriptures ~ John 1:1-18; Luke 2:25-32; Romans 13:11-12; II Corinthians 4:4-11; Ephesians 5:8-14; and I John 1:5-7.
Reading lots of Scripture – it’s a beautiful thing.
This week we turn our attention towards New Year. We have celebrated Christmas, our houses are wrecks, our fridges are over-flowing with left-overs, college football bowl-season is in full swing, and people are beginning to make plans for the new year.
What will it hold?
What will I resolve to do this year? What will I resolve to not do this year?
This Sunday’s service is based on a Watchnight Service, which is a service typically held on New Year’s Eve. It begins late in the evening and typically concludes after the clock strikes *NEW YEAR*.
(Reeves will be having our service at 10am on Sunday, December 30…same time…same place…same Bat-channel…see what I did there?!)
A Watchnight Service provides us with an opportunity to reflect, confess, and prepare:
- Reflect – upon the year that has come to an end; what was started, what was accomplished, and what was left undone; the joys and successes alongside the trials and the losses.
- Confess – our sins, individually and communally, and be reconciled
- Prepare – for the new year through prayer and resolving.
As I consider the spiritual opportunities in a Watchnight Service I see a fantastic opportunity for growth in spiritual discipline throughout the new year. What if I (what if we) resolved to have this sort of reflection time each week during 2013? A time to:
- Reflect – upon the week that has come to an end; what was started, what was accomplished, and what was left undone; the joys and successes alongside the trials and the losses.
- Confess – my sin and be reconciled.
- Prepare – for the new week through prayer and resolving change and to be the change.
Each weekly watchnight would be an opportunity for private worship, study, journaling, and prayer. Each weekly watchnight would be an opportunity to commune with God, center oneself again on the being who is our true center, and then proceed into the world as God’s hands and feet.
Perhaps this is what God is calling you to resolve…perhaps this is not what God is calling you to resolve. If a weekly reflection experience is not your cup of tea, then seek diligently the way God is calling you to resolve more time in the divine presence. Seek it. Name it. Engage it. And on the cusp of 2014 we will celebrate it!
Happy New Year!
Prayer: For “Seeking God’s Will” through Confession and Words of Assurance* by Bishop Ken Carter, Resident Bishop of the Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church
O God, we seek you, and yet we hide from you. At times we draw near, and at other times we move away. If we are honest, we sometimes prefer darkness to light; despair to hope; confusion to clarity. Help us receive the call to rebirth as a gift, and open our hearts and minds to the Spirit that makes all things new. Through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Pray in silence.
Brothers and sisters, hear the good news. The kingdom of God has come near. Repent, and believe the gospel. In the name of Jesus, you are forgiven. Amen.
* Kenneth H. Carter Jr, Prayers and Liturgies of Confession and Assurance (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2009), 37.