cov•e•nant

cov·e·nant
ˈkəvənənt/
noun
1.
an agreement.
synonyms: contract, agreement, undertaking, commitment, guarantee, warrant, pledge, promise, bond, indenture

 

verb
1.
agree, especially by lease, deed, or other legal contract.
“the landlord covenants to repair the property”
synonyms: undertake, contract, guarantee, pledge, promise, agree, engage, warrant, commit oneself, bind oneself
“the landlord covenants to repair the property”

 

Covenant is a really big word in our church life here in the United Church of Christ. We use the word as a noun, a verb, and an adjective.  We describe our polity, the way we organize and govern ourselves, as covenantal. We recognize the covenants of God with all of Creation throughout our scripture. We speak of our agreements and contracts with one another as covenants and recognize there are always more than 2 parties involved.

 

I like the word covenant. I like it because it sounds churchy to me. I don’t know of very many other places that we use that word (although, I don’t get out Brigitmuch, and am rarely far from a churchy context anymore). I like the word because it sounds big and important. I think churchy things ought to sound big and important. However, sometimes churchy words can sound so big and important, I can start to believe that they don’t really apply to me. They sound big and important for other people, you know, holy people, people who have heard from God in a burning bush or from angels accompanying a chariot in the sky. Churchy words and ideas start to sound idealistic and Heavenly, which is far from the world I live in every day.

 

But when I start to shelve churchy things into that other-world space in my head or in the sanctuary, I forget the point of our Savior’s earthly visit to us 2,000+ years ago. When I start to let some distance creep in between me and the great promises and ideals that God has laid before us and invited us into, covenants between us and God and one another, then I come dangerously close to worshipping my own ideas and ideals instead of God’s. What a gift we have in the word and deed and action of covenant.

 

I love the idea that you and I and God are all connected. I love the thought that through our covenants we recognize each other as brothers and sisters and seek to behave in ways that lift each other up and celebrate God’s beautiful creation in all of us. I love the hope that lies in promises made between and among us to remember who and whose we are. I need that hope. Our world is full of broken promises, breaches of social contracts, and violations of rules and order. I find great hope in covenant. I meet God in covenant.

 

Covenant is messy and wonderful. It binds me to people with whom I disagree and am angered by equally as to those with whom I agree and aspire to be more like. Covenant pushes me to see God in mess of the everyday as well as the high polish of the sanctuary. My prayer for you and for me is that we may revel in the covenants that bind us and never give up on the hope of truly living those covenants with grace, integrity, and love. May you be wrapped in the wonder and comfort of being held in covenant with God and with your fellow siblings in the Church. May you be honorable in your covenant with me, and I with you, and all of our fellow siblings, remembering the gift of being called family together. Thank you, God, for the deep promise and covenant of your binding Love.

 

Blessings for the journey,
Brigit Stevens, Associate Conference Minister

One comment on “cov•e•nant

  1. Emery Killian on said:

    Thoughtful words –
    Here’s just a few additional thoughts for your consideration:
    A covenant has 3 parts *PARTIES – *TERMS & *PROMISES
    Covenant is the best, perhaps the only, hermeneutic to understand, interpret and apply scripture accurately.
    Covenant Keeper (Promise Keeper) is the most frequently used adjective applied to God in scripture.
    Covenant is not just a “churchy” word it is the word that describes God’s relationship with the church and the church’s relationship with God. Dr. E

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