New Year’s Eve
“May God send you help from the sanctuary, and give you support from Zion.” – Psalm 20
Where are you on New Year’s Eve? I’m in an AA meeting, one of God’s strong sanctuaries, even though they are often located in church basements. Some of you will be there, too, later today – it’s the kind of holiday that is hard to take “one day at a time.” Others of you will be in Watch Night services, Weight Watcher meetings, airplanes headed back to college, Alzheimer’s Care units, dialysis chairs, homeless shelters, online with others leaving situations of domestic violence. Some of you will go to a party and others will watch the ball drop in Times Square with a single good friend.
Psalm 20 is a prayer that asks, “God grant your heart’s desire and fulfill all your plans, that we may shout in joy over your victories.” Most personal victories come less from tomorrow’s resolutions than today’s good sanctuaries of physical, emotional, financial and spiritual support. Sanctuaries are found where one or more are gathered to care, to help, and then to just shout in joy for another’s success. Sanctuaries are found where God is present in community.
Recognize the sanctuaries in all their diversity. Plan to be in one when you need help; plan to be in one when someone needs you.
God, grant us the humility to seek sanctuary, the compassion to offer it to others—no matter how different they may be from us, and the faith to know that you are always the source of serenity, courage and wisdom. Amen.
Maren C. Tirabassi is Pastor of Union Congregational UCC of Madbury, NH. She is the author most recently of The Shakespeare Reader and Other Christmas Tales.