In January our Methodist brothers and sisters often celebrate a renewal of their covenant with God. Within our community down at the tip of Cornwall, we have a special relationship in St Levan with the Methodist church. Sadly their building had to close so they joined forces with the Anglicans and we worship together week by week.
One of the things that is such a rich gift to us, as Anglicans, is the service of Covenant that we share each January. Although this year it will be by Zoom service as the buildings are closed, it will be no less important.
On December 25th 1747 and on many other occasions, John Wesley, a Church of England clergyman and the founder of Methodism, strongly urged the people called Methodist to renew their Covenant with God. The Methodist prayers goes like this:
A Covenant with God
‘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.’
What might it mean for you to pray this prayer? It is not a simple thing, as what we are saying is that we agree to entwine our wills to God. No longer seeking self but seeking to serve. No longer looking out for the best for me, but the best for others. No longer preserving myself as the priority but giving God control in my life. (This reminds me of those working in the NHS at the moment, fighting the pandemic with out thought for their own wellbeing.)
This Covenant is scary stuff indeed. But our God is a God of Love and grace, truth and beauty. In God, with God we have no need to fear, for we are in safe hands. No matter what God asks of us, where God sends us, God is with us always and everywhere.
For this is the covenant made in the life of Jesus given on the cross, that we might live freely forgiven and loved. Thanks be to God.