105:7 He is the LORD our God; his judgments are in all the earth.
105:8 He is mindful of his covenant forever, of the word that he commanded, for a thousand generations,
105:9 the covenant that he made with Abraham, his sworn promise to Isaac,
105:10 which he confirmed to Jacob as a statute, to Israel as an everlasting covenant,
105:11 saying, “To you I will give the land of Canaan as your portion for an inheritance.”
105:45b Praise the LORD!
One of the lectionary readings for this week comes from Psalms 105. In this text, we are reminded of the covenantal nature of our God. As Christians, we are a covenantal people. We are also a covenantal church. And, we are called to live a covenantal life. I am convinced that a way in which we can live a covenantal life is by living in perfect communion with God, our neighbors, and all God’s creation.
This text describes that God made a covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob blessing them “for a thousand generations” and granting them a specific land – the land of Canaan.” In a way, this text is a reflection of God’s covenant with humanity. Specifically, this text reminds us of the power there is in God’s covenant with humanity, “He is mindful of his covenant forever, of the word that he commanded, for a thousand generations…”
In Jesus’ baptism, God’s covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is fulfilled. A voice came from heaven speaking a powerful truth – the truth of Jesus, the Son, the Beloved, the One in whom the Father is well pleased. And, since this heavenly voice’s declaration over Jesus, humanity has not been the same.
God’s covenant with Jesus became God’s covenant with humanity. By God’s spoken word, Jesus was empowered, and the tone of the new kingdom Jesus came to establish was set. Through God’s spoken word over Jesus during his baptism, a door was opened to all to join in active participation with the covenantal people who are invited to reflect God’s covenantal nature.
Our text reminds us that our baptism means something. When the spoken word was proclaimed over us, and we were baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, something happened. We became participants of the kingdom Jesus came to establish. As a covenantal people, we have a call to live a covenantal life.
In our own baptism, we made a covenant to embrace God’s grace, which is the power of the Holy Spirit manifested in our lives. Yes, in our baptism, we committed our lives to be led by the power of the Holy Spirit. As we remember that our God is a covenantal God and that we are a covenantal people, our commitments need to reflect our covenantal nature.
Now, to live a covenantal life will require us to embrace certain commitments to God and one another. As the North Carolina Conference and the Heritage District, we have many opportunities to live out our covenantal life. Especially in the midst of a pandemic, race tensions, a presidential election, and so on, we need to be faithful to our covenant with God, our neighbors, and God’s creation.
As you might know, as a Conference, we have covenant to do our ministry under the guidance of the following values and emphases:
- Prayerful discernment and worshipful work centered on Christ
- Clarity of purpose in meetings
- Covenant to be prepared, present, and to participate fully
- Value diversity
- Build trust to embrace differences of opinion and move toward consensus
- Ongoing evaluation of measurable outcomes
The Five Conference Emphases
- Effective Leaders
- Healthy Congregations
- Congregations for Children (We are looking for a new district coordinator)
My hope is that these values and emphases may guide our covenantal life together as we seek to serve God’s beloved people in the Heritage District. I make a covenant with you to be present in your journey and ministries as much as possible. In fact, pastors will be receiving a sign-up list soon, in an effort to find a time to meet in the following weeks.
Here are also some opportunities for us to live out our covenantal life with the church in the following weeks (we will keep updating this and offering more opportunities):
- August 1: 2019 Audit Due.
- August 13: DCOM meeting (Please be in prayer for the committees, but especially for the candidates).
- August 19: Pastor’s Set-Up Zoom Meeting. (I really look forward to seeing all of you there).
- All year long: Please get in touch with our Conference and District Disaster Response Coordinators, Jason DuVall and Dustin Sprouse to learn more about volunteer opportunities year-long in this important ministry.
Our covenantal God and God’s commitments have no limit as Paul describes to the Romans:
“Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?…No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:35-39.
Let’s not forget this God’s promise as we seek to live as a covenantal people. Amen.