Almost a year of turmoil

Beginning almost one year ago in March, 2020, turmoil seemed to envelop our country. Along with the usual physical ailments, the COVID-19 virus emerged. Political heat heightened. Violence as a result of societal differences escalated. And, you know what? At a time when people should have been turning to God for support and guidance, spirituality plummeted. Was it because Christians were asking the question, “Where is God?” I don’t know, but I do believe that we have to work at focusing more on our faith and witnessing to others about the love of Christ. That is why my theme for this newsletter is where we are right now in our faith and where we should be.

Two weeks ago, we renewed our covenant with Jesus through the Wesleyan Covenant Service. In 1775, John Wesley introduced a covenant service as an important part of spiritual life in the Methodist Societies. This renewal service was a time for the Methodists to gather annually in a time of self-examination, reflection, and dedication, wholly giving up themselves and renewing covenant with God. Repentance through confession and commitment was a key focus of the service, demanding humility from those willing to submit themselves to the dynamic words stated within the liturgy.

I think it important to renew this covenant annually. I am printing the covenant prayer below, so if you feel your faith waning, you can spend a few minutes reading and praying the words.

The Covenant Prayer

My righteous God, for the sake of Your Son Jesus Christ, see me now as I fall down before You. Forgive my unfaithfulness when I have not done your will. You promise mercy if I turn to You with my whole heart.

God requires that you rid yourself of every idol in your life.

From the bottom of my heart, I here and now renounce every idol in my life, covenanting with You that I will not commit any known sin. By turning against Your will I have turned my love toward the world. In Your power I will watch for any temptation that will lead me away from You.

Through Jesus Christ, God offers to be your God again, if you allow Him to be.

Before all heaven and earth, I here and now acknowledge You, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, as my Lord and God. I vow to give all of myself, body and soul, to be Your servant and to serve You in holiness and righteousness all the days of my life.

Jesus Christ is the only way and means to God. God has given us Jesus as the way and means to salvation.

Jesus, I here and now accept You and the only new and living Way. I join myself in covenant with You. I come to You hungry, sinful, miserable, blind, and naked, unworthy even to wash the feet of Your servants. With all my power, I accept You as my Lord and Head. I renounce my own unworthiness, and vow that You are the Lord, my righteousness. I renounce my own wisdom and take You for my only guide. I renounce my own will and take Your will as my law.

Christ has told you that you must suffer with him.

Jesus, I here and now make this covenant with You and accept whatever comes in life. Through Your grace I promise that neither life nor death will separate me from You.

God has given holy laws as the rule of your life.

I here and now willingly take on Your yoke and burden. All Your laws are holy, just, and good. I accept them as the rule for my words, thoughts, and actions, promising I will strive to order my whole life around your direction. I will not allow myself to neglect anything I know to be my duty.

The Almighty God searches and knows you, even the thoughts of your heart.

O God, You know that we have made this covenant today in sincerity, without deceit or reluctance. If You find anything false in us, guide us and help us to set it right. And now, glory be to You, God the Father. From this day forward, I shall look upon You as my God and Father. Glory be to You, God the Son. You have loved me and washed me from my sins in Your own blood. From this day forward, I shall look upon You as my Savior and Redeemer. Glory be to You, O God the Holy Spirit. By Your almighty power, You have turned my heart from sin to God. From this day forward I shall look upon You as my Comforter and Guide. O mighty God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, you have now become my Covenant Friend. And I, through Your infinite grace, have become Your covenant servant. You are mine and I am Yours. So be it. May this covenant that I have made here on earth be ratified in heaven. Amen.

 

Love,

Pastor Nancy

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