For many people this year will bring great joy and happiness; for many others life will be difficult, precarious and sad. This is the inspiring and moving poem read at Holy Trinity on New Year’s Day 2012.
Written by the imprisoned German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, it was one of the last things he wrote; he was executed by the Gestapo in April 1945.
NEW YEAR 1945
With every power for good to stay and guide me,
Comforted and inspired beyond all fear,
I’ll live these days with you in thought beside me,
And pass, with you, into the coming year.
The old year still torments our hearts, un-hastening:
The long days of our sorrow still endure:
Father, grant to the souls thou hast been chastening
That thou has promised, the healing and the cure.
Should it be ours to drain the cup of grieving
Even to the dregs of pain, at thy command,
We will not falter, thankfully receiving
All that is given by thy loving hand.
But should it be thy will once more to release us
To life’s enjoyment and its good sunshine,
That which we’ve learned from sorrow shall increase us,
And all life be dedicate as thine.
Today, let candles shed their radiant greeting:
Lo, on our darkness are they not thy light
Leading us, haply, to our longed for meeting?
Thou canst illume even our darkest night.
When now the silence deepens for our harkening
Grant we may hear the children’s voices raise
From all the unseen world around us darkening
Their universal paean, in thy praise.
While all the powers of Good aid and attend us
Boldly we’ll face the future, be what may.
At even, and at morn, God will befriend us,
And oh, most surely on each New Year’s Day!
When angry or resentful
Almighty God, have mercy on all who wish me evil and would me harm and their faults and mine together, by such easy, tender, merciful means as your infinate wsdom can best devise.
Heal and restore us that we may be together in Heaven, where we may ever live and love together with you and your blessed saints, O glorous Trinity, for the bitter passion of our sweet Saviour Christ.
Lord, give me patience in suffering and grace in everything to conform my will to yours, that I may truly say, "Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." The things, good Lord, that I pray for, give me your grace to labour for."
Sir Thomas More
When anxious or fearful
O merciful Father, who has taught me in your holy Word that you do not willingly trouble or grieve your children: look with compassion on the sorrows of your servant. Remember me, O Lord, in mercy, nourish my soul with patience, comfort me with a sense of your goodness, shine your face upon me and give me peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Let nothing trouble you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All is fleeting,
God alone is unchanging,
Patience everything obtains;
Who possesses God
God alone suffices.
St Theresa of Avila (1515-82)
You who live in the shelter of the Most High,
who abide in the shadow of the Almighty,
will say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress;
my God, in whom I trust.’
For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
and from the deadly pestilence;
he will cover you with his pinions,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
You will not fear the terror of the night,
or the arrow that flies by day,
or the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
or the destruction that wastes at noonday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
You will only look with your eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.
Because you have made the Lord your refuge,
the Most High your dwelling-place,
no evil shall befall you,
no scourge come near your tent.
For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways.
On their hands they will bear you up,
so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.
You will tread on the lion and the adder,
the young lion and the serpent you will trample under foot.
Those who love me, I will deliver;
I will protect those who know my name.
When they call to me, I will answer them;
I will be with them in trouble,
I will rescue them and honour them.
With long life I will satisfy them,
and show them my salvation.
Holy Trinity 'Parish Prayer' (1976)
Grant us Lord, day by day, the joy of true living:
That we who seek your service may find your peace,
And grow into the loving likeness of your son,
Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Lord, I don’t know what I ought to ask of you. You alone know what is needed. You love me better than I know how to love myself. O Father, give to me, your child, that which I don’t know how to ask. I wish only to do your will. Teach me to pray. Pray, yourself, in me.
Lord of light – shine on us;
Lord of peace – dwell in us;
Lord of might – uphold us;
Lord of love – enfold us;
Lord of wisdom – enlighten us.
Then, Lord, let us go our as your witnesses to share the good news of your mighty love for us in the gift of your Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ.
May God the Father,
who does not despise the broken spirit, give us a contrite heart;
who bore our sins in his body on the tree, heal us by his wounds;
May the Holy Spirit,
who leads us into all truth, speak to us words of pardon and peace.
The Roslin Prayer
Lord, thank you for your presence here, for the opportunity to pray, for the promise of peace, for the beauty of the world and kindness of people.
Lord, I am sorry for the times when I have been hasty or unkind, when I have thought or acted selfishly, failed to forgive or ask forgiveness. I thank you for the promise to accept in love all those who are truly sorry.
Lord, I pray for myself: help me to trust your love, for you to carry my sorrows; for my family and friends, my neighbours at home, at work, including the ones I dislike, for those who are ill, for those who mourn, for the oppressed, for those involved in disaster or war, bless them, Father, in their various troubles and show me how I may help.
Heavenly Father, as I leave this place, give me the strength to walk in the way you lead me, forever.