I would have this as a normal re-blog, but can’t figure out how. Any way Ruth Gee’s comments on the Methodist Covenant service. I could happily turn this into tomorrows sermon.
Renewing my Covenant with God
Posted by James PB on January 4, 2014 in Ministry
Tags: Christianity, church, Covenant, Methodism, Methodist, methodist churches, Methodist Covenant service, Ruth Gee
January 6, 2014 at 20:53
Hmm… I don’t quite understand the theology here. Perhaps you could explain it?
The Eucharist is the covenant sign of the New Covenant. Every time we receive Holy Communion, we renew the covenant with the Lord. If that’s the case, then why a special service?
January 7, 2014 at 08:54
Within the Methodist tradition (and taken from other Puritan and Protestant sources) this is a service once a year (in general) where we explicitly renew a covenant with God. While for some Holy Communion is a covenantal matter, it is not the only theological view on it – Methodism in part views it as a means of grace, the wider views can be read here http://www.methodist.org.uk/downloads/conf-holy-communion-in-methodist-church-2003.pdf
So this is a time of rededicating ones self to God and to following the calling of God – it could be seen as akin to the renewal of Baptimal vows made in the Easter Vigil.
Hope this helps, if not will see if can make more sense but will be off line for a couple for days from lunch time.
January 7, 2014 at 22:48
>While for some Holy Communion is a covenantal matter…
Doesn’t everyone? I’m not really sure how you could view communion without at least some reference to the New Covenant. The relationship between the two is articulated explicitly both in the teaching of the Early Church Fathers and in the words of the Lord Himself (“This is the cup of the covenant…”).
>Methodism in part views it as a means of grace
Catholicism would also agree it’s a means of grace (in a very real sense, a Sacrament, no less). However, what gives it grace is its relationship to the New Covenant, won by Jesus’ blood and communicated through the covenant signs of bread and wine.
January 9, 2014 at 16:29
Within the wider body of the church, no, for some – though not my self – it is an action of memorial.
As to the topic of the Covernat Service, this is a service of dedicating (and rededicating) ones sefl to the service and call of God. The coverant here, is not the new coverant of salvation, but is one made between a people and God.
January 9, 2014 at 18:48
>The coverant here, is not the new coverant of salvation, but is one made between a people and God.
See, that’s what confuses me. What other covenant is there other than “new and everlasting covenant”? Through the New Covenant we have entered into God’s family, the very life of the Trinity. What kinship bond is lacking between God and His People? What is left to be done?
Thinking about it, I guess we could say that, from a Catholic point of view, we have have (in a certain respect) ways in which we rededicate ourselves to God:
1. We rededicate ourselves to God whenever we enter a church and bless ourselves with holy water, since it points back to our baptism, which was the means of supernatural rebirth and entry into the covenant life of God.
2. We might also say that we rededicate ourselves each Sunday when we confess our sins in the Confiteor and ask for the Lord’s forgiveness.
3. We might also say that we rededicate ourselves each Sunday when proclaim our Faith by reciting the “Symbol of Faith”, the Nicene Creed.
4. Ultimately though, we would point to the Eucharist, since it is both a source of real grace and the family meal of God’s covenant family:
“…so that you obey the bishop and the presbytery with an undivided mind, breaking one and the same bread, which is the medicine of immortality, and the antidote to prevent us from dying, by [which means] that we should live for ever in Jesus Christ” – Letter to the Ephesians, AD 107
January 9, 2014 at 19:54
From the text of the covenant prayer, the better analogy within the Catholic understanding would be vows made by those entering religious orders.
Within my understanding of the the Methodist usage of the term; covenant is being used as something that is bound between humanity and the divine, and also that it is a purely responsive activity to the grace and salvation that God has offered, and that has been accepted though faith.
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