Feb 2, 2021
Covenant Service 2021
Uniting Church in Australia – Parish of Rockhampton South
Next Sunday (7/1/21) at South Rockhampton (Campbell St) and on Sunday the 21st at Mount Morgan we will be celebrating the Covenant Service. (Join us in person or online . Website. Church live streaming.)
I would like you to prayerfully prepare for the service.
The service is about two things – Firstly - God’s commitment to us. “In the service the Church joyfully celebrates God's gracious offer to Israel that "I will be their God and they shall be my people".
Secondly it is about our response to God’s commitment. This commitment or agreement God makes with us to be our God is a commitment which God makes and will never go back on. The depth of God’s commitment is seen in Jesus. In Jesus God became one of us. God lived among us and even died for us. He taught us about God’s character. Jesus showed us God’s character by his actions. (Actions such as healing, feeding the hungry, forgiving others, and spending time and sharing meals with those on the edge of society as well as those in the centre. After Jesus died God raised him from the dead that we might know God’s love is stronger even than death.
Like a husband or wife God in Jesus has committed himself to us body and soul even unto death. (Unlike a husband or wife God’s commitment continues even after death.) What should be our response to this commitment God has made to us?
We give our lives in return and not because we want God to love us but because God already does.
One way to express that commitment is in a covenant service. There are other ways but in Methodist and Uniting Churches this is a more than 250 year old tradition of the Covenant Service where we formally re-commit ourselves to God. A key part of that is the Covenant Prayer adapted by John Wesley in 1755.
I would ask you to read the words of this prayer and reflect on them over the days between now and the service.
See below for a simple preparation process to follow.
Yours in Jesus
Preparation for the Covenant Service
First, remind yourself of God’s commitment to us by reading through a few key verses of Scripture such as those below:
God’s Promise to Abraham and to us: “I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”” (Genesis 12:2–3, NRSV)
““For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. “Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” (John 3:16–17, NRSV)
“This is what love is: it is not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the means by which our sins are forgiven. Dear friends, if this is how God loved us, then we should love one another.” (1 John 4:10–11, GNB)
Then read out loud or silently reflect on the Covenant Prayer as your response to God’s commitment to us.
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,
to the glory and praise of your name.