This is the first in what I hope to be a regular series of blogs from people across the Circuit. It is a space for people to reflect, think out loud, or grapple with faith and church life.
This blog was written my Matt Collins, our Communications Coordinator
It’s that time of year again, when Methodists all around the country renew their covenant relationship with God. We do this, in part, with the Covenant Prayer:
I am no longer my own but yours.
Your will, not mine, be done in all things,
Wherever you may place me, In all that I do and in all that I may endure;
When there is work for me and when there is none;
When I am troubled and when I am at peace.
Your will be done
When I am valued and when I am disregarded;
When I find fulfilment and when it is lacking;
When I have all things and when I have nothing.
I willingly offer all I have and am to serve you,
As and where you choose.
Glorious and blessèd God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
You are mine and I am yours.
May it be so for ever.
Let this covenant now made on earth be fulfilled in heaven. Amen.
(Covenant Service, The Methodist Worship Book)
I think the Covenant Prayer is an amazingly powerful, and beautiful, piece of liturgy. When I was a teenager, I had a poster I made with it on hanging in my bedroom (I have just found it again and will hang it in my office when I find some blu-tack!).
It’s not always an easy prayer to pray. When things are going well; when you are in a job you like, in a place you are comfortable in and life is rosy, it’s easy to say that you will are willing to let God set you aside, let you be disregarded without focusing on what it might really mean. But when you are in that situation; when employment isn’t forthcoming, when there are stumbling blocks at every step, when you feel like your life is a reenactment of the book of Job, it can be heart-wrenching to say those words.
(One of my close friends has written powerful blog about how she can’t say those words this year - you can read that here).
But I get something more from the Covenant Service - it always gives me a great sense of home.
Over the past 10 years or so, I’ve lived in 5 different places and worshipped at 7 different Methodist churches across England and Wales. At most of these I have attended a Covenant Service, and was even lucky enough attend one in the chapel in the Houses of Parliament. And this year, we are going to be away on the Sunday that my church is holding its Covenant Service. We are going to stay with a minister friend at the other end of the country and we will be going to a Covenant Service there.
No matter where I am, or maybe no matter where God had chosen for me to be, I find great comfort in saying those words. And I always find the Methodist Church to feel like home, whether it is the church I grew up in or the little chapel down the road on holiday. It is, I think, one of the many great gifts we get as a Connexional Church, that sense of knowing that there is always a community that will welcome you and care for you.
I hope that as you say the Covenant Prayer this year, that you will feel God’s love and may know the plans he has for you.