Global Ministries

The United Methodist Church

Connecting the Church in Mission


Worshiping Together: From Midnight to a New Year

Many of us will greet the new year with a countdown of the last 10 seconds in 2014. “10 … 9 … 8 … 7 … 6 … 5 … 4 … 3 … 2 … 1 … Happy New Year!” We greet another year with shouts of joy. But for many others around the world and around the corner, the turning of the clock to 12:01 a.m. on January 1, 2015 brings no new sense of joy. Instead they ask, with a sense of loss, “How will this year be any different?”

We have seen the pictures of destruction and people displaced by hurricane and flood. We have wept as we heard the unimaginable number of lives lost due to disease. We are deeply troubled when we realize that we have become accustomed to seeing pictures of entire villages seeking refuge from war-torn countries. And we ask, “How will this year be any different?”

In every place — from everywhere to everywhere — the people called United Methodist have joined together to offer hope and relief through the United Methodist Committee of Relief (UMCOR). Water, medical care, food, housing, cleanup supplies, prayers and a gentle touch from a person who cares; whatever is needed is offered in the name of the hope found in Jesus Christ.

What would happen if your New Year's resolution was to include the concerns and joys of the world in your worship at every worship service, every week?

The turning of the clock at midnight to a new year brings us all to a time of reckoning and pondering. What can we do to make a difference in this new year? As faith communities we can begin the year by joining together in prayer and worship with the world. What would happen if your New Year's resolution was to include the concerns and joys of the world in your worship at every worship service, every week? What could happen if every United Methodist faith community prayed with the world every week? What could happen if every United Methodist faith community gave thanks for the miraculous ways God has been active in the world as a part of every worship service?

The Rev. Jack Amick, assistant general secretary of International Disaster Response with UMCOR, has heard the cries of those impacted by disaster around the world this past year. He has written two prayers and a Great Thanksgiving for congregations to use as they move from 2014 into 2015 together.

“Prayer: Lord of all people everywhere”

The prayer, “Lord of All People Everywhere” could be used any time between the Sunday after Christmas and Epiphany. Because the people’s response is the same phrase, “Lord, show your presence!” after each intercession, it is not necessary to print the prayer. Simply share that when you pause in the prayer they are to say that phrase together. If this way of praying is new to your congregation, you could use the verbal prompt of “To your people,” to which they respond, “Lord, Show Your Presence.”

Churches with projection may want to include a short presentation, no more than 3-5 pictures, that visually interprets each section of the prayer. Add this as a silent act of prayer by showing the slides after the intercession and before you say the pattern, “To your people, Lord, show your presence!” If you do not have projection but do print a bulletin, you could choose one picture per section in the prayer and print each one in the bulletin. Ask the people to look at the corresponding picture as they silently pray after each portion of the prayer.

“Prayer: Lord of all people everywhere”

Lord of all people everywhere,
As your morning light shines the first rays of the New Year on the faces of children,
   we experience the rolling arc of earth’s tangent with the sun.
We pray that your presence of hope and grace might be noticed in all these places;
   In the hearts of people displaced last year by storm and flooding in Pakistan, India,
   Bangladesh, China, Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia, the United States and the Philippines.
Lord, show your presence!

In the hearts of people pushed into places of fear by conflict and violence:
   in Palestine, Iraq, Syria, Ukraine, Central African Republic,
   the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan.
Lord, show your presence!

In the hearts of people living in the face of deadly disease:
   in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Côte d’Ivoire and Guinea.
Lord, show your presence!

May a new day of peace and possibility settle on all who need a fresh start.
This year, make us stewards of your shalom and caretakers of your justice.
May the brokenhearted of the earth live into the fullness for which they were created.
Lord, show your presence!

In the name of Jesus, the Christ, we pray.
AMEN.

by Rev. Jack Amick, UMCOR

“Prayer: God of All Things New”

Consider using the prayer “God of All Things New” in your worship on Dec. 28 and through the week at any meetings or gatherings you may have. Ask the congregation to bring a small piece from their own crèche/nativity scene to worship. You will want to have line drawings of the crèche available for children (of all ages) to be able to color and to use as part of this prayer as well. These are readily available from the Internet. If your church has a crèche that was used as a visible part of your Christmas worship, consider printing out a small picture of that crèche to give to each person who attends worship. One possibility for use of the prayer is to ask several persons of different ages (the oldest member, a middle aged member, a young adult, a youth and an older elementary-aged child) to each read a section of the prayer. Practice reading the prayer together so it flows smoothly between the voices. This could also be used on Jan. 4, 2015 as part of the opening section of worship in the same way.

Introduce the prayer by asking everyone to hold the piece of the crèche/nativity scene in their hands. If you gave out simple drawings or a picture, ask people to hold them in their hands as you pray together.

“Prayer: God of All Things New”

“Prayer: God of All Things New”
God of All Things New,
may we break forth into this new year
still an infant,
bright with expectation
and full of hope.
Let not our arteries of anticipation
become occluded by doubt.
Keep our sinews of the spirit
swinging and swaying.
Make us flexible enough to yield,
and strong enough to stand fast.
Grant us the wisdom to know when to grasp tightly and when to give.

God of All Things New,
may we break forth into this new year
boldly and decisively,
still half-slumbering
but lumbering forward quickly,
hearing again
Joseph’s angel-alarm clock
that drove him into the darkness
and on to Egypt without fear,
not knowing the plan completely —
but knowing that this child,
just born to us in Bethlehem, the city of David,
would be as dangerously defiant as the Bread of Life,
as was the stone-slinging shepherd as a king and poet.

God of All Things New,
may we break forth into this new year
truly open to change
and being changed
into a heart full of hope.

God of All Things New,
may we break forth into this new year
not celebrating the end of a season of shopping
and an old calendar,
but with a deep desire to never forget,
a deep desire that causes us to leave on the mantel
at least one Christmas crèche.

God of All Things New, this we pray.
Amen.
by Rev. Jack Amick, UMCOR


“Great Thanksgiving: Watch Night/New Year’s Day”

In many contexts around the world, gathering together for prayer and communion on New Year’s Eve and/or New Year’s Day is a community and churchwide tradition. Rev. Amick wrote this Great Thanksgiving based on the lectionary readings for either New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day: Ecclesiastes 3:1-13; Psalm 8; Revelation 21:1-6a; and Matthew 25:31-46.

Bring the world into your New Year’s Eve/Day worship by using breads of many cultures. If your grocery store does not carry a variety of breads, visit restaurants of different cultures and order bread directly from them. Collect smaller pieces of cloth from the world and wrap the bread in these pieces of cloth. You can order napkins made in global fair trade workshops by doing a quick Internet search on “fair trade napkins.”  Another option is to collect colorful baskets from the world to place the bread into on the table. Consider singing short, unaccompanied choruses from the world as you take communion, such as these from The Faith We Sing (Abingdon Press):

“Tuya Es la Gloria/We Sing of Your Glory,” #2011
“Gloria a Dios/Glory to God,” #2033
“Praise, Praise, Praise the Lord,” #2035
“Dios Está Aquí/ God Is Here Today,” #2049
“Amen Siakudumisa/Amen, We Praise Your Name, O God,” #2067
“Alleluia (Honduran),” #2078
“Tino Tenda, Jesu/ Thank You, Jesus,” #2081

“Great Thanksgiving: Watch Night/New Year’s Day”

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them to our God.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.

God Beyond Time, it is indeed right to give you thanks and praise. Before time, you established the heavens, setting the moon and stars and planets and all matter into motion. Before we could count, you created the countless constellations that would one day help us chart our seasons. You formed the earth and crafted all the creatures: sheep and oxen; the beasts of the field; the birds of the air; the fish of the sea. Then, in your time, you made us to be stewards of your creation and reflections of your love. 

You gave us seasons of work and seasons of rest.
You gave us minds to create and learn and invent and grow.
You gave us hands to plant and reap and cook and feed one another.
You gave us hearts to love you and each other.
You gave us a sense of past and future and of your presence.
You called us to listen for you in big tasks and in small,
in the miraculous and the mundane,
the triumphant and the trivial,
the sensational and the sublime.
You called us to be happy and whole and full of your love all the days of our lives.

You made a time for every matter under heaven: a time for birth and for death;
a time for holding on and for letting go;
a time for gathering together; a time for being apart.

And so, with all those — past, present and future — who have ever taken time to seek you, we join together to praise you and give you thanks, saying (singing): 

Holy, Holy, Holy Lord
God of power and might
Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.


Because our busyness crowded out your love in our lives, you sent us Jesus, whose life, death and resurrection taught us a new way of living. Jesus taught us to make time for you by making time for the poor, the hungry, the sick, the naked, the imprisoned, the stranger. Jesus was the alpha and the omega; the already and not yet kingdom; the possibility and the promise of each and every day.

On the night in which Jesus invited us to find time for a new way of living, he took bread, blessed it, broke it and gave it to his followers saying, “This is my body, which I give for you. Take it and eat. Do this to remember me.”

After supper, he took a cup of wine, blessed it and gave it to them saying, “This is my cup of the new covenant, given for you and for many for your salvation. Remember me with your lives.”

And so, in remembrance of these your mighty acts in Jesus Christ, we offer ourselves in praise and thanksgiving as a holy and living sacrifice, in union with Christ’s offering for us, as we proclaim the mystery of faith:

Christ has died,
Christ is risen,
Christ will come again.


Pour out your Holy Spirit on us gathered here and on this bread and this juice. Make them be for us the real presence of Christ that we might be the body of Christ for the whole world.

Inspire us with your Holy Spirit so that we can see you in the eyes of the poor. Grant us the boldness and courage to make time to help those in need. When we are in times of pain and mourning, transform our pain into promise, change our hurt to hope. Help us to claim time for you. This year, use the church to make all things new for our community and our world.

By your Spirit make us one with Christ, one with each other and one in ministry to all of the world, until Christ comes to be with us and everyone feasts at his heavenly banquet.

Through your Son Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, in your holy Church, all honor and glory is yours, almighty God, now and forever.

Amen.
By Rev. Jack Amick, UMCOR

This year as the clock turns from 11:59 p.m., Dec. 31, 2014 to 12 a.m., Jan. 1, 2015, let us join our voices together in prayer, praise and thanksgiving for the many ways that the people called United Methodist have brought hope and transformation to a hurting world, and let us take those prayers with us into and throughout the new year.

by Rev. Debra Tyree
Global Praise, a program of Global Ministries

“Prayer: Lord of All People Everywhere”, “Prayer: God of All Things New”, “Great Thanksgiving: Watch Night/New Year’s Day” written by the Rev. Jack Amick, UMCOR.

© 2014. Used by permission. This worship resource may be reproduced and used in congregational worship with the inclusion of the complete copyright citation on each copy. It may not be used for profit, sold, republished or placed on a website without permission. Contact copyright@umcmission.org for permission.

Photos:

Orasje, Bosnia and Herzegovina. UMCOR approved a $60,000 grant for Global Medic, and also a $60,000 for International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC). Photo courtesy of GlobalMedic

Super Typhoon Haiyan's devastation of Calogcog, Philippines, where UMCOR will be helping the community rebuild its homes. Photo: Jack Amick.

Ahead of winter, UMCOR helped fund a distribution of blankets, heaters, soap & more to 627 families in Northern Iraq. Photos: GlobalMedic. 

An UMCOR-supported program in Ukraine provided local health care workers (and patients) with drugs that have been in short supply since conflict started there. Photos: The Union of Young Christians of Ukraine.