Written collaboratively by the Leadership team of Circle of Hope on December 21, 2020
God, you are:
Near to us, my portion, the father of our eldest brother, Jesus. You are strong and safe, my comforter, WONDERFUL, faithful, amazing creator, Emmanuel. You are the fullness of all of our wildest hopes. You are with us, patient, sovereign, watching over us, my redeemer.
This year has been:
Full of weariness and grief, time spent in bleak country, wrenching, lonely. This year has revealed anxiety and fear, an exposure of complete vulnerability and the fragility of human existence. This year has been so full of suffering, an unending lonely marathon from hell, tragic, mournful, HEARTBREAKING, and so long, with so much loss. This year has been confusing, traumatic, exhausting, unequally burdening, and painful.
But we also saw you:
Show up in unexpected ways and keep us together, apart. We saw you in the loneliness and the dark, even on Zoom. We saw you in our love for one another, in our desperation, in the wild places in Maine, in our teachers and in the streets, weeping for our sins. We saw you move in relationships, we saw you LOVE US and hold us through the storm, in protest and grief. We saw you build your body in unexpected ways and begin a racial reckoning.
Next year, we ask for:
An end to the pandemic, and deliverance from this moment. We ask for sustained comfort and grace for our post-isolation relational difficulties. We ask for redemption and healing, connection and restoration, relief and hope. We ask for interwoven fingers of ones we have loved and are learning to love. We ask for TOGETHERNESS and to sing together again. We ask for new jobs in line with our callings and giftings. We ask for a time to embrace, a time to be together and feel each others’ presence. We ask for patience and a restoration of what was lost. We ask for safety for our loved ones, justice, an end to the death penalty, mass incarceration, and police brutality. We ask for manna.
No matter what comes next, we will:
Wait patiently for your Word, and know the depth of your love for us. We will continue to turn to you and hold each other up. We will hold fast to your promises, both fulfilled and new. We will stay with You, remain faithful, remember your presence and the reality of your promises, and we will pray. We will hold tight to your word, remember your faithfulness, and trust you to deliver us to you and to each other. We will have this body and praise your name.