New Beginnings

A liturgy

by Christine Sine

by Carol Dixon

Opening words: The early part of the year is a good time to think about new beginnings – new challenges and new choices. Our first hymn  takes up the theme.

HYMN:   Every New morning

1.Every new morning God gives us freely
hearts that are thankful, strength for the task,
people who love us, joy in our service,
all we have need of if we but ask.

2.God will be with us in all our thinking,
in all our speaking, in all we do;
and as we praise him by all our actions,
he will be with us, seeing us through.

3.God in the morning, God in the noontide,
God in the evening, throughout the day;
God is within us, and all around us,
behind, before us all of the way.

© Carol Dixon 1998
Church of Scotland Hymnary 4

Opening Prayer:
Glorious God, we praise you for your presence with us
Each and every day –
In the vastness of the universe
and in the minutiae of our ordinary lives,
in the beauty of the world around us,
in the freshness of each dawn
And the golden glory of each sunset.
We praise you for your presence
with us here and now in Jesus
Our Friend and Saviour who through
His gift of the Holy Spirit
Gives abundant life
To all who love him and seek to follow him
And share his peace with all around. 

Glorious God,
We praise you for your presence with us
In our worship and in our lives, now and forever. Amen. 

Reflection: Now that January is half way through I wonder how many of you have kept to your new year resolutions (if you made any)?  Just after new year I came across a much more interesting way of starting anew in a beautiful  poem by Sally Coleman called New Year Choices. We’re going to hear it now.


I pause…

To reflect, looking ahead to a new year

Looking with hope,
I choose not to make myself,
Or anyone else
False promises.
I choose not to set
Unrealistic goals.

Instead, I choose to choose life
Having to acknowledge
That I am unsure
What I mean by that,
So perhaps I am choosing
To give myself to the unfolding of new days,
To the unfolding of this moment by moment existence,
Not striving for what might be, nor
For what I might be…

So I choose not to be
With either my own demands,
Nor the demands of the culture that
Constantly shifts in its definition of what is,
Or what is not acceptable…

I choose love,
Knowing that I have only paddled
In the shallows of it
But long to strike out into the deep…

I choose these things
Awake to the inevitability
That I will fall and fail in them,
But trusting that I am
Held in the shelter
Of a greater power,
Who I know so little of,
But who knows me completely…

In this I rest,
All will be well, All will be well,
All manner of things will be well…     ©Sally Coleman 

Christine Sine (the founder and Facilitator of Godspacelight) in her introduction to the poem invited us to consider which lines in Sally’s poem resonate particularly with us and what our response to them would be. The lines that immediately jumped out at me were the end of the poem where she quotes the words of Mother Julian of Norwich – All shall be well. Our next piece of music is based on Mother Julian’s words and I invite you to read through the poem (on the back of the hymn sheet) as we listen. 

Song: All shall be well

All shall be well, all shall be well, all manner of things shall be well.
All shall be well, all shall be well, all manner of things shall be well.
God’s love protect you, God’s love enfold you,
God cradle you in the palm of his hand.
All shall be well, all shall be well, all manner of things shall be well.

So what is your response to Sally’s ponderings on new beginnings? Which line of her beautiful prayer leapt out at you? Perhaps you have a different choice of your own as your intention for this year?  (Responses) 

Another part of the poem that caught my eye as I read through it were the words ‘The unfolding of new days’ and ‘the unfolding of this moment by moment existence’. One of the Bible readings that speaks to me of this newness of life is in Paul’s 2nd letter to the Corinthians Ch 5 (vs 17-21) & Andrew going to read it for us now:

Reading: 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 Good News Translation

17 Anyone who is joined to Christ is a new being; the old is gone, the new is come. 18 All this is done by God, who through Christ changed us from enemies into his friends and gave us the task of making others his friends also. 19 Our message is that God was making all human beings his friends through Christ. God did not keep an account of their sins, and he has given us the message which tells how he makes them his friends. 20 Here we are, then, speaking for Christ, as though God himself were making his appeal through us. We plead on Christ’s behalf: let God change you from enemies into his friends! 21 Christ was without sin, but for our sake God made him share our sin in order that in union with him we might share the righteousness of God.

Reflection (cont)  One of the wonderful things about the reading that always jumps out at me is the fact it’s in the present tense – we are ‘being made new’ all the time. No matter what happened yesterday of even 5 minutes ago we have the chance to start again in Christ – as we head earlier in our opening hymn (Every new morning God gives us freely hearts to be thankful strength for the task.)  An old hymn that speaks of God’s renewing love is Great is thy faithfulness.  Let’s sing it now to lead into our prayers. 

Hymn 76. Great is thy faithfulness 

Prayers of intercession:  Gracious God,
In Jesus you make all things new.
Your mercy is all encompassing
And you offer new life to all who ask in faith.
So much is wrong in our world today –
So much sorrow, so much strife,
People and planet suffering through greed –
For power, for more than our fair share,
We don’t know how to begin to pray.
Send your Holy Spirit t to us so that
In the quietness of our hearts
We can bring our prayers to you
For our families, for friends in need,
for our world and for ourselves….. (silence)
Gracious God
We thank you for hearing our prayers
Even before we form them;
Thank you for renewing us in heart, mind and spirit
To love and serve all we meet
In Jesus’ name. Amen. (The Lord’s Prayer together) 

 Our closing hymn picks up on the final words of the Lord’s prayer in each verse. I wrote it at the beginning of a new year just before the turn of the new century when we celebrated 2000 years since the birth of Jesus.. 24 years later it is still relevant.

HYMN Give us the vision

1.Give us the vision
for the coming year,
as we look to the future –
to overcome our fear,
and boldly take a stand
as we seek to make each land,
a kingdom fit for you.

2. Give us the vision
for the church, your bride,
to be pure, strong and holy –
to overcome our pride,
and humbly understand
we receive with open hand,
the pow-er from you.

3. Give us the vision
for our exploited earth
as we watch our planet suff’ring,
and see the peoples’ hurt;
spur us on at your command
until each and every land
gives glory to you.

♥Carol Dixon 1998  ‘Songs for the new millennium’   Methodist Publishing House

Blessing: (from Psalm 121) 

The Lord guard you and protect you
Every day and every night of your lives
In the burning of the sun, in the coolness of the moonlight.
May God keep you safe as you go out and as you come in,
This day, every day, and always. Amen


We have Lent and Easter resources we have collected over the years. Feel free to explore them here. Ash Wednesday is in just a couple of weeks!

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