Posted in Uncategorized

Prayer for a New Year

There is a temptation to begin

by admitting to You the truth

that it will not take long for us

to mess up royally again.

Already, eight hours into the newness

there is no doubt

(though I have not heard it) that the

oldness rolls on,

that war continues

and that there is violence

and selfishness

and misunderstanding

and all the rest

already (or still) with us.

And yet.

And yet as you do each day

you have brought a new thing

to be this day.

It is cooly bright

and frigid in this sector

of the planet

and it shimmers with its newness.

Behind all that we have dirtied

beneath the grime and mineral crust

something new and tender is

already born

and seeks a voice.

The first day of this new year

brings hopes and plans

and renewed commitments

that are not entirely rational.

And so what?

Who would want a world that could be

summed up as ‘entirely rational’?

There would not for long be room in it

for us combination beings:

spirit and flesh

peacemakers and warriors

givers and takers

believers and doubters

as we are.

You did not want such a world,

but rather a time and place

more fascinating

more complex

more difficult;

tougher to shepherd

and harder to understand.

And so.

Here we are

on the first day of the year.

As we mess up

we dare to ask you:

make us new too, like the day,

like this year;

make us shine like the first light

of dawn;

give us your strength to rise

as many times as we fall this year,

and once more;

give us the Heart to beat within us

that You sent without protection,

that was rent and torn

and still bears the scars

and still loves as widely wildly

as ever.

Let us be with you this year

and know it to be so;

exulting without fear,

or rather, even in our fear.

As always we will be beat up

some days, and

beyond exhaustion at some sunsets.

Just give us hope for the sunrise,

for the newness You will again create

in your eternal faithfulness,

that seeming one word

spoken always and everywhere,

the Name You whisper into the void

(for there is never need to shout)

to make it home,

the Name that means company and dwelling

and God-with-us

in this old and new

reasonable and heartbreaking

ever re-created



(J. McGinty, 01.01.15)


A native of the North Shore of Boston, I currently live on Long Island, New York. I worked at Boston College as the Acting Director of The Church in the 21st Century Center until August, 2010 and served until November 2016 as Canon for Formation, and Dean of the George Mercer Jr. School of Theology of the Diocese of Long Island. I am now Rector at the Church of Saint Anselm of Canterbury in Shoreham, New York.

One thought on “Prayer for a New Year

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s