Newton Highlands Congregational Church, 2006
Each fall on the first Sunday of our program year (usually the first Sunday after Labor Day), we repeat our ancient church covenant adapted for our contemporary time. This is the covenant for 2006. It is based, as always, on the Salem Church Covenant of 1629. Click here for the sermon that accompanied the recovenanting ceremony.
One Voice: Let us lift up our voices and repeat our ancient pledge:
All: We covenant with the Lord and with one another and do bind ourselves in the presence of God, to walk together in all God’s ways, according as God is pleased to reveal Himself unto us in the blessed word of truth.
Choir: We love this covenant, and we’ve read it before. We offered the same words last year, and the year before that. Do they mean anything new this year? And are they a promise to keep from the past or a pledge to the future?
Members for more than 20 years: Promises from the past are a good idea. Consistency can breed creativity. It doesn’t hurt to know God’s ancient ways and remember God’s unchanging gifts, such as peace, love, and service. Of course God is always doing a new thing, too, right? (Isaiah 43:19)
Those under 20 years of age: We hope so. Jesus brought children in close, which means something about change and new ideas. So “walking in God’s ways” is about those and about the future. Of course, we like to know what our parents and mentors value, too. We don’t want everything to change. (Matthew 18:3)
Staff and Deacons: So this is what we try to offer, with God’s help. Ancient wisdom for modern challenges. Unchanging faith for a world in flux. New ideas grounded in hope. Which yield sharing in a culture of selfishness, service in an era of suspicion, prayer in a period of noise, heaven in the face of hell. So we pledge to God and to one another that this house, Jesus’ house, will make joyful noises, inclusive commitments, and love-centered choices to reflect the divinity that is in each person. And, as it says, we’ll do that based on God’s Word, which is the best there is.
Men: “How shall (we) live? Live welcoming to all” (Mechtilde of Magdeburg)
Women: How shall we be? “Be holy, for I your God am holy.” (Leviticus 19:2)
One voice: That is what we will attempt this year. A year close to God’s Word, filled with Jesus’ service, and focused on the new and urgent call of this world. And we need each other as well as God for all that. So keep coming back.
All: We will. For, We covenant with the Lord and with one another and do bind ourselves in the presence of God, to walk together in all God’s ways, according as God is pleased to reveal herself unto us in the blessed word of truth. It’s a tough world. But this is Good News. Thanks be to God! Amen.