We have embarked upon our six-week study of the Church Covenant. In the first session we discussed the background of the Covenant. Covenants between God and humanity originated in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve were presented with an awesome gift, a space of peace and plenty, with the provision that they simply care for it and be obedient to God. They were not obedient and chose instead to rebel against God. Their disobedience breached the Covenant and they fell from grace.
The concepts of humankind and God continued through Noah, where for his obedience, God guaranteed that the flood waters would never again destroy the Earth and the rainbow in the sky would be the affirmation of that covenant. Covenantal theology continued through the Patriarchs, most noticeably Abraham who was given a promise that God would bless his descendants because of his faithfulness. In the New Testament, the Covenant was expanded to all who believed in Christ and the promise to the church was they by being faithful to Christ would receive eternal life.
The covenant that we recite on first Sundays goes back to the Protestant Reformation and articulated church members’ belief in God and commitment to each other. The Church Covenant is not just something we say, it is recited with a deep desire to live our lives for Christ.
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Recently we witnessed one of the most horrendous crimes in modern history. A week ago, Jamal Khashoggi, journalist for the Washington Post, was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. According to intelligence sources, he was lured there under the pretense that the Saudi government had documents to assist him in his upcoming engagement to be married. Once in the consulate, he was arrested, tortured, and murdered and his body was dismembered. This unspeakable barbarism is beyond the pale of civility and decency. Just when we think we could not sink any deeper into the abyss of lawlessness, this incident marks that we have plunged to new depths. In response to the tragedy our government states that we will take no economic reprisals because they have pledged to pay 100 billion dollars for US weapons. At this point, the 100 billion is blood money pure and simple.
As we discussed, the Church Covenant has two foci, the theological and the ethical. It delineates our relationships with God and with each other. There could be no more compelling reason why the world needs to accept Jesus, and why we in the church must never minimize the power of evil than the murder of Khashoggi . The Church Covenant articulates humankind’ s regulating force, that is Jesus, and Jesus alone.