“Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”
Then the people answered, “Far be it from us to forsake the LORD to serve other gods! It was the LORD our God himself who brought us and our fathers up out of Egypt, from that land of slavery, and performed those great signs before our eyes. He protected us on our entire journey and among all the nations through which we traveled. And the LORD drove out before us all the nations, including the Amorites, who lived in the land. We too will serve the LORD, because he is our God.”
Joshua said to the people, “You are not able to serve the LORD. He is a holy God; he is a jealous God. He will not forgive your rebellion and your sins. If you forsake the LORD and serve foreign gods, he will turn and bring disaster on you and make an end of you, after he has been good to you.”
But the people said to Joshua, “No! We will serve the LORD.”
Father, as we reflect upon the year past, we give you thanks.
Thanks for the many blessings we know come from you
And for those we do not think to acknowledge;
Thanks for the times we were conscious of your presence with us,
and for the times we felt alone, but you were with us nonetheless.
Thanks for the many people we love, and who have shown love to us, as well as those difficult to love, yet who need love no less than we.
Thanks for food, drink, shelter, health, safety and peace.
Thanks for times of hope, of peace, of joy, of love;
Thanks too for helping us through times of despair, chaos, sadness and strife.
For our families, friends, colleagues and companions, we are thankful.
And for our Church, where we gather as your people, in person or by extension, we give you thanks.
For 2020, in it’s hopes and fears, its peace and its struggles, its joys and its disappointments, its love and its sorrows, in all that it has brought to us;
and for you, O God, bringing us through it, there is much for which to give thanks, and we do so now in silence…
We thank you too, in faith, for the year to come, praying that it might be remembered as a year of healing, of restoration, of wisdom in leadership, of compassion to the needy, or reuniting those who have been apart.
There are many whose lives, shaken by 2020, are in a fragile state, physically, emotionally, spiritually, materially, financially; we lift them in prayer before you now.
For those accompanied by sorrow, we pray; for those accompanied by illness, by worry, by hardship, by uncertainty, we pray. And for those accompanied by grief; for all these, we lift them in prayer before you now.
For our very old, for our very young; for all in our midst who are in your care; for ourselves, we pray.
Entrusting the years past and the years to come to your eternal and sovereign care, we, your children, dedicate ourselves to loving one another, our world, and you, our God, now and forever, praying together as you have taught us, saying,
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power,
and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.