New Year Resolutions

December 30, 2007

New Year Resolutions – A Wesleyan Covenant Service

New Year’s resolutions never seem to work out well, do they? Most don’t last long and don’t accomplish that for which we had hoped. How about “entering into a covenant instead”? Covenants – generally understood as agreements between people and God – are “cut”, not “written” – at least according to how they are described in the Old Testament.

Last week we looked at the “Old, Old Story” and saw the ways in which God is encountered through the narrative. The interesting thing is that encounters with God lead to – guess what? Covenants!

Encountering God … in creation and … as the source of goodness … leads to … the covenant with Adam

Encountering God … in new beginnings … leads to… the covenant with Noah

Encountering God … in a sense of purpose and call … leads to … the covenant with Abraham

Encountering God … when all looks dark … in the miraculous … in times of seeking … in Scripture… leads to … the covenant with Moses

Encountering God … in dreams come true … leads to … the covenant with David

Encountering God … in the words of others … and when all goes wrong … leads to … predictions of a new covenant

Encountering God … in the person of Jesus … leads to … the new covenant

And so we read, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood” (Luke 22:20). Although the birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus is the climax of the story… it isn’t the end of the story! The next part of the story … is our story … and our covenant. And so instead of worrying about New Year’s Resolutions, which don’t work well anyway, we join together in the words of the Wesleyan Covenant Prayer:

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 by you or set aside by 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 heartily yield all things to your pleasure and disposal.
And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, You are mine, and I am yours.
So be it.
And the covenant that I have made on earth let it be ratified in heaven.
Amen.

{Adapted from the Book of Offices of the British Methodist Church, 1936]

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