God who created all the world, who created all of humanity in the multiplicity of your image, who became like us to offer radical, eternal, transformation, we come before you today as one body, though in many places. 

We’re in a time of starting anew, and yet it feels like much of the last year has bled into this one. We are weary. We are hoping beyond hope. We are waiting…still. 

We are waiting with anticipation, for the distribution of a  vaccine, for the ability to join together in worship safely, to be able to visit our friends and families…we are waiting for things to change. 

We are waiting as the prophets of the ages did for a Messiah, hoping beyond hope for one who would come to offer renewal and transformation to all the world. 

We believe as they did that you fulfill your promises. We believe that you do not leave us alone, that not for one minute are we truly isolated from your great love. We believe that you offer new life day by day, for as your Apostle Paul writes in his second letter to the Corinthians, “So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!”

If we are in you God, we are constantly being made new. By your free gift of grace, we are given 1001 and then some chances to learn how to love you, and love our neighbors. 

Help us to remember that we have been called to continue the good work you began in us, that you gave birth to your church through fire and preaching in the streets, that the early church stood tall in the face of persecution, that despite all it has endured, the church still stands today as the reflection of your transformational grace here on earth. 

We are waiting, yes. But we are also working, joining together in the continuation of the work of our barrier-breaking Savior, who ate with tax collectors and prostitutes, who called out the hypocrisy of religious leadership, and whose death on the cross tore the curtain in the temple so that we may no longer be separated from your redeeming, renewing, transformational grace.