Midnight Benedicting

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By Marikjke Strong
Jeremiah 31:7-14

Happy new day!
Happy new beginning!
For a split second
there is a funny, sweet discomfort between us.

Wouldn’t it make sense to say these things more often?
Murmur them across the pillow
bellow them gleefully into the phone
mouth them through bus windows
sing them in the boots of our souls.

For a split second
our glasses tick together
there is shouting in the streets
strangers bumping into one another in the room
and I think there is the intimacy between us
of kin or lovers
speaking benedictions with our eyes.

Oh, my dear
may you rise up every morning singing
new year! new day! new beginning!
shout the words awakening
thirst the words aslakening
happy new
happy new.

Oh, my delight
may each green moment startle you
may beautiful little things knock your socks off
with wonder and longing
and when you weep
may it be deep
happy new
happy new.

Oh, my love
may you go out every morning burgeoning, kindling, streaking, revelling,
and come home with your heart full
the Maker benedict you
languor no more afflict you
happy new
happy new.

It’s a quiet shutter click.
All of this happens in one small moment
and then we turn away.
I do not even learn your name
but move to someone else
I’ve never met before.

Happy New Year!
Clinking glasses and locking eyes
there is for a split second
a funny, sweet discomfort between us
(why do we only do this once a year?).

It reminds me of the way I want to live
always
and what I hope for you
happy new.

Marijke Strong is the minister for congregational life and community care at Fellowship Reformed Church in Holland, Michigan.

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