Praying for a New Year… Literally


Is it over yet? Are we there yet? I didn’t want to open my eyes until it was safe. Is the year 2020 gone? Because it was certainly the longest year on record and of my life.

Shielding my eyes, my praying hands are a defense mechanism. My head is bowed and I wouldn’t look up until the coast was clear, until 2020 was out of here. I don’t want to see it again—not even for a second. Because the entire world has lost more than it can count. I didn’t count on such a loss of life and liberty, which could mean death for many more. We all count down to a new year as the death toll due to COVID-19 goes up.

No vision board instead last year was “a sight for sore eyes,” eyes tired of looking at the inside of our homes, apartments, and condos. There is no way we could have seen this coming. The last time there was a pandemic was a hundred years ago. But, many of us were also tired of seeing the murder of unarmed African-American women and men. So, we took to the streets in protest. We just couldn’t look away anymore or wait for someone else to get the ball rolling. So, we closed our eyes and saw Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd as ourselves.

The ball dropped in New York City and last year, politicians dropped the ball too many times on their response to racism, police brutality, immigration, child separation, COVID-19 and vaccinations, economic instability, and stimulus checks. You can’t see me but I am rolling my eyeballs. Why do we have to ask for more zeros in these checks? I thought Abraham Lincoln said that this was a “government of the people, by the people (and) for the people.” But I digress.

Wait. One more thing, what are they doing with our tax dollars anyway? Because Americans can’t live off of their “thoughts and prayers.” Because people are being evicted from their homes and their personal effects are being put out on the Amen corner. We simply can’t afford for persons to take their ball, their bail out money, and go home.

Then I am reminded that Jesus is God in the flesh, God at home with us, that no matter where I am, God is Old Faithful. After last year, I can see this more clearly. So, Old Faithful, I ask that fear not lead us. Let there be no trickle-down hatred, no top-down divisions. Instead, give us all new visions and dreams so that we can see that this time is not more of the same but a completely new year. Amen.

Reverend Starlette Thomas* is the Minister to Empower Congregations at the D.C. Baptist Convention. She writes on the social construct of race and the practice of faith at Her hobbies include reading, writing, and praying with her feet.

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