Happy new year to you all! Hasn’t this year 2020 been one for the record-books? I do hope you have kept safe, well and even found goodness in the midst of what many are calling our annus horribilis.
It’s also been a year of transition for many, including me. I’m moving to a new church (ClearView Church) to become their Lead Pastor beginning in February, wrapping up nine great years of ministry at Knox Presbyterian. How I will miss the people and place of Knox!
I’m also moving to a new blog site. Part of God’s renewed calling for me is to write more. After years of (often sporadic – sorry about that) writing here at Squinch, I figured a more readily identifiable blog site might be a helpful thing and good home for this calling. I want to thank all of you for subscribing, reading and commenting here at Squinch over the years. And I hope you’ll join me over at www.philreinders.com and would so love for you to subscribe to my blog there.
I’ve also been working on a side-hustle for many years (part of my doctoral studies) that you might be interested in. The project involves something called a rule of life, and how that ancient life-hack can be a tool for the renewal of the church. I’d love it if you would check it out at www.habituscommunity.org and let me know your thoughts about it.
And as we all move out into this new year – perhaps with a measure of anxiety and trepidation – here is a prayer for all of us (in which I riff off of and also generously borrow from Doug McKelvey’s beautiful liturgies in Every Moment Holy):
A prayer for the new year for those coming out of 2020
I am not my own
– not the author of my life, not the captain of my destiny –
as the previous year made plain.
And so I renounce all claim to my own life and desires.
I belong to you; I am yours alone, O Lord.
My prayer is simple:
Lead me by your mercy through this gift of time.
Waste no moment in the days of this year, Lord.
Let all that happens be as tools in your hands
To shape me and make me more truly your own
More fitly a child of hope
Of the restoration of all things in Christ.
May all of the days of this year
– the ordinary, small, and dull, the aching and bruised,
and those brimming over with goodness and grace –
be a part of the story your grace is writing in my life and this world.
Shape my vision and school me by your Holy Spirit
So I might learn your story and know my place in it
So my days might bless, offer hope and extend love
My life a fit home for the indwelling of Jesus.
May all my labours, leisure, and rest,
My hopes, dreams and plans,
The joys and griefs, the gifts and imperfections,
Express the love you have ordained me to.
Let all that is done in this year
Be a foretaste of greater glories to come.
Nothing is too hard for you, Lord Jesus.
And so I place all confidence in you –
that whatever these coming days bring
I am kept and sheltered in your care,
and that in all things your grace will sustain me,
My rock and my Redeemer.
Spirit of God,
Take these 365 calendar squares of unmarked living
Brood over the yet-to-be formlessness of this coming year:
Call out from it light, life, glory and delight!
All to your praise.
(image credit: Bill Watterson)