Bishop Devadhar (UMC)’s message for 2019 New Year

Beloved in Christ:

Greetings in the precious name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Through the mighty grace of God, we have been blessed to see the dawn of another year in our lives!

New Year’s Day is marked in unique ways in our global community – different types of celebrations, various styles of worship, and all sorts of resolutions.

In the midst of it all, each of us grapples with an existential question, “What will this year bring?” Of course, none of us knows the answer, but as Christians we can draw inspiration and guidance from the scriptures and the hymns, as well as through our prayers.

I offer the following scripture, hymn, and prayer as a way of thoughtfully approaching the New Year. 

From Micah 6:8: “He has told you, human one, what is good and what the Lord requires from you: to do justice, embrace faithful love, and walk humbly with your God.”

Amid uncertainties, fears, doubts, suspicions and not knowing what kind of year 2019 will be, we can ask to be granted the courage and wisdom to do justice, to love, and to walk humbly with God.

We can explore what justice looks like, what it means to embrace faithful love, and how we can walk humbly with our Creator God. We can allow these questions to guide us throughout the year.

Rev. Harry Emerson Fosdick composed the hymn “God of Grace and God of Glory” in 1930 – between the First and Second World Wars. In many ways, this time was not much different from the time in which we live today.

The entire hymn is very powerful. Read the words, internalize them, and sing them with gusto:

“Save us from weak resignation
to the evils we deplore;
let the search for thy salvation
be our glory evermore.
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage,
serving thee whom we adore,
serving thee whom we adore.”

What does it look like when we live into Rev. Fosdick’s prayer? What does it mean to demonstrate our resistance to evil? What are the ways in which our lives serve the One “whom we adore?”

Let these questions guide us throughout this new year, and let us pray:

Holy and gracious God,
at the start of this new year
we continue on the never-ending journey with you,
even as we begin anew.

We did not arrive here on our own;
Your grace and companions on the way
have brought us to this day,
on which we are blessed with the dawn
of another year.

For provisions in the past,
for promise for the future,
for the fullness of the present,
make us ever grateful.

our lack of trust,
our slowness to love,
our timidness to act justly,
our failure to show mercy.

Replace our fear with courage.
Turn our pride to humility.
Quicken our steps toward the forgotten.

Help us, in our search for salvation,
to resist resignation and evil,
and to adore you
in our serving all
in whom you dwell.

In the name of the Christ,
who with you and the Holy Spirit,
has come, is present, and will come again. Amen.

Prema joins me in wishing you and your loved ones a Happy and Blessed New Year! Remember, God loves you all and so do we!

In Christ’s love,

Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar