This next Sunday we hold our annual Covenant Service, taken by our minister Rev. Neil Vickers. We celebrate all that God has done for us, and affirm that we give our lives and choices to God. The emphasis of the whole service is on God’s readiness to enfold us in generous love, not dependent on our deserving. Our response, also in love, springs with penitent joy from thankful recognition of God’s grace. The covenant is not just a one-one transaction between individuals and God, but the act of the whole faith community and our unity with all humanity.
The traditional Covenant prayer makes it very clear that this affirmation is a serious one that embraces the whole of our life, in all its parts. Most people find it quite tough to say, and really mean it. But the prayer is so central to the Christian life that other Churches have also adopted it.
In our culture we tend to prize our ability to make decisions and choose our own path in life. It can feel very hard to give that up. But this prayer is like a love poem. It is about surrendering to God in love and joy.
I am no longer my own but yours. Put me to what you will, rank me with whom you will;
put me to doing, put me to suffering;
let me be employed for you, or laid aside for you ,exalted for you ,or brought low for you;
let me be full, let me be empty, let me have all things, let me have nothing:
I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things to your pleasure and disposal.
And now, glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
you are mine and I am yours. So be it.
And the covenant now made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven.