Joyful, joyful we adore thee- God of Glory Lord of Love. Our hearts unfold like flowers before thee opening to the sun above….Well…sort of, O Lord, but it’s been cloudy and dreary…and there are days when our joy vanishes…and we have days when our hearts are more likely to curl up and harden than to unfurl in the warmth of your love.
But we long to have our joy renewed. We long to know the joy of walking with you, serving you, knowing you. We long for the sort of joy that is not enslaved to circumstance. Grant us the elation of basking in your good news so that we might dance our way into your Kingdom and sing our way through the valleys and shadows. And we ask for your joy today on behalf of those we know and love who are hurting: ___________________________________________.
And we do adore you. Not because you give us all we have (although you do) but because you give us you. In your love, you have not given up on us which is the only reason we haven’t given up on ourselves. When we are lost, you find us. When we come home, you receive us. When we are wrong, you forgive us. When our pride is strong, your grace is stronger. When we feel weighed down by our pasts, you invite us into your liberating future. There is none like you…and so we adore you.
And in this new year, we invite you to open our hearts again and renew our love. Stoke the embers of our love for you that have all but gone out. Remove the apathy from our spirit and the sin from our lives. Create in us a clean heart and restore to us the joy of your salvation. Revive our love for our neighbor, whomever our neighbor might be in any given moment. Help us to look with compassion upon this world for which you died and to look with mercy upon each of your creatures. Open our hearts to beauty and the sacredness of things. Rekindle a love for our enemy, so that the inexplicable wounds of irrational hate might be met with the inexplicable balm of your irrational love. Enliven our love with your love, O Lord.
And so…joyful, joyful we adore thee- God of Glory, Lord of Love. Our hearts unfold like flowers before thee opening to the sun above. This has been our song this morning, but this is our prayer all year long.
In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, one God now and forever.