When I was growing up, we used to sing a chorus: This is the day that the Lord has made. It was based on Psalm 118:24, a great psalm of victory written in celebration of the victory the Lord has won over His enemies. And of course it is right that we have special days when it is most appropriate to praise and to worship. But it also occurs to me that every day is a day that the Lord has made. Before the sun rises in the morning, or before we wake up from our sleep, the Lord has already planned the coming day, and whatever might befall us, we are ultimately in His hands. That’s why we are told in another psalm, which I also used to sing as a chorus: From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the Lord is to be praised (Psalm 113:3).
And if it is true that every day is a day that the Lord has made, then 2016 is a year that the Lord has made. We may only have the faintest idea of what lies ahead. It may be reasonable to presume we will have more stories of freak weather events; of refugees on the move; of terrorist atrocities. But we do not know how even these events might unfold. Yet the Lord knows, and both on a global and on a personal level He still reigns as king and knows the hearts of those He has made.
So whatever our resolution might be 2016, may I suggest this one thing: that we commit ourselves in the coming year to seeking the Lord’s plans and purposes? Both on an individual level and as a church. Make time to read your Bible and to pray. Make time to come to church and to small group. Let’s be serious about discovering what the Lord wants us to do, and let’s be willing to live more and more by faith.
On Sunday we are going to use some words from the New Year covenant service, originally devised by the Methodist church but now widely adopted throughout the Anglican church as well. Between now and then, take some time to reflect on these words. And may I suggest you use them as your prayer for 2016:
I am no longer my own but yours.
Put me to what you will,
rank me with whom you will;
put me to doing,
put me to suffering;
let me be employed for you
or laid aside for you,
exalted for you
or brought low for you;
let me be full,
let me be empty,
let me have all things,
let me have nothing;
I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things
to your pleasure and disposal.
And now, glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
you are mine and I am yours.
So be it.
And the covenant now made on earth,
let it be ratified in heaven. Amen.