Worship for the New Year: Liturgy of Letting Go
Today we honor the changes that we’ve made over this last year and the growth that comes from change. We’re saying goodbye to our old ways and saying hello to what we trust will be the beginning of a future with even greater hope.
We remember how Abraham and Sarah set out to a new country and a new life, not knowing where they were being led. Change and growth are full of uncertainty.
We remember how Naomi turned back from the land of Moab and returned to the Promised Land, trusting that God would provide. Change and growth require leaps of faith.
We remember how Ruth left her homeland and followed Naomi into a life of
discipleship. Change and growth require trusting friendships.
We remember how Jesus left his carpenter’s tools, went into the wilderness, and began his new vocation. Change and growth require obedience.
We remember how the fishermen left their boats and women left their traditional roles to follow Jesus in his nomadic ministry. Change and growth require the courage to try new things.
So today we offer thanksgiving for the ways in which the Lord has helped us change this past year—intellectually, emotionally, physically, morally, spiritually, and socially.
Let’s let go of our past and go forward into the future with faith.
We come also to repent of the ways in which we have failed to grow
….for our failure to show mercy to others even when we have been shown mercy
….for our failure to forgive others when you, God, have been forgiving toward us
….for our failure to surrender our false sense of control even when it hurts us or others
….for our failure to receive all you provide when you have called us to a life of abundance
.…for our failure to be good stewards when you have been so generous to us
….for our complacency and inaction in the face of all that you have prepared and called us to do.
We come to you Lord, in humility, bringing ourselves, just as we are, right where we are, as a new starting point, remembering that there is a time for everything – for holding fast and for letting go.
To “Let Go” does not mean to stop caring; it means I cannot control another person or do the work of growing for someone else.
To “Let Go” is not to cut myself off; it’s the realization I can’t be everything to others.
To “Let Go” is not to change or blame another; it’s to make the most of myself.
To “Let Go” is not to care for, but to care about others; not to be responsible for, but to be responsible to those I love.
To “Let Go” is not to try to fix things, but to be supportive and point others to the One who redeems all things.
To “Let Go” is not to judge, but to allow others to be human and simply love and accept them.
To “Let Go” is not to be protective; it is to permit another to face reality and consequences.
To “Let Go” is not to deny, but to accept.
To “Let Go” is not to nag, scold or argue, but instead to search out my own shortcomings and correct them.
To “Let Go” is not to adjust everything to my desires but to take each day as it comes, and cherish myself and all that God provides in it.
To “Let Go” is not to regret the past, but to live in the present and grow into the future.
To “Let Go” is to fear less and love more.
Lord, send our roots deep and help us to grow strong in Christ. Establish us firmly in the faith we are taught in your Word, through your Spirit, by your people, and within the circumstances you allow in our lives. Transform us by the complete stripping away of the things of the world that attract and hold us. Hear our confession, Lord, and let us be, in all ways, the new creatures in Christ that You have made us.
Letting go of the past, and going forward into the future with faith, we offer thanks for the new part of our journey that is about to begin in this New Year. Amen