Today is Covenant Sunday in our church.
During the service we will share together in saying these words:
‘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.’
The initiative in the Covenant is God’s. He promises that he will make a covenant with his people. Not like the one they’d had before, because the people had broken that. This time God will write his laws in their hearts – he will be their God – and they will be his people. God will forgive them the wrongs of the past – forgive them and forget.
God calls to us, every one of us, inviting us to join our lives and our hearts with his.
That is the offer that is on the table. But for a covenant to be ratified it has to be agreed by both parties.
I was reminded again recently by all the paperwork involved in buying property, how many place you have to sign to say that you are aware of and agree to every small point of the contract.
God makes his offer, of love, of hope, of peace, of forgiveness – freely offered to us.
It’s up to us whether we take up that offer.
As I’m typing this the adverts are on the tv reeling off offer after offer. Great bargains we apparently can’t live without… I’m not convinced, but the offer God makes to us is a truly special offer.
Over Advent, we reflected on giving ourselves to God, in response to what he has given to us in Jesus. This Covenant Prayer is our opportunity to make that response. To offer ourselves, all that we are, all that we can be, all we have – all our being; to the one who gave everything he had to us and for us.
It’s not an easy commitment to make, there are lots of hard words. Commitment to God is serious business, but so is his commitment to us.
So the offer is there – are we going to take it or not?