New Years Day
I am no longer my own, but thine.
Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be employed for thee or laid aside for thee,
exalted for thee or brought low for thee.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal.
And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
thou art mine, and I am thine.
So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth,
let it be ratified in heaven.
I have always had an interesting relationship with this Wesleyan Covenant prayer that Methodist Churches around the world pray the first Sunday of the new year. What a wonderful way to start a new year completely committing our entire selves to God!
But it is a difficult prayer for me to say and really mean. The line that scares me the most is, Let me be employed for thee or laid aside for thee. My worst nightmare would be to not be useful to God.
Yet in those times when I have worried about what was next for me in the church, this prayer has always swirled through my mind. I have found over the years that when I am comfortable, it challenges me and when I am in distress, it comforts me.
It challenges me to remember that all that I have and all that I am belongs to God. It challenges me to remember that whatever success I have is not mine to brag about but a credit to God’s grace.
It comforts me to know that even in failure or worse in inactivity, I am still God’s. My value as a human being is not dependent on accomplishments but is inherent in my relationship to God. God names me God’s beloved child because of who God is and not because of who I am.
So, I will say it again this New Year’s day with twinges of hope and discomfort, knowing that in both, I belong to God. So be it. Amen.