Renewing the Covenant in the New Year
Today we meet, as generations before us have met,
to renew that which bound them and now binds us to God.
The covenant is that relationship of promise and faithfulness
first made through Noah, Abraham and Moses,
made new for us in Christ,
expressed in baptism and enacted and renewed
each time we share Holy Communion.
In the covenant, God says to us,
“I will be your God, you will be my people.”
Beloved in Christ,
let us again claim this covenant for ourselves,
and take the yoke of Christ upon us.
To take this yoke upon us means that
we are content that he appoint us our place and work,
and that he himself be our reward.
Christ has many services to be done:
some are easy, others are difficult;
some bring honour, others bring reproach;
some are suitable to our natural inclinations
and material interests; others are contrary to both.
In some we may please Christ and please ourselves;
in others we cannot please Christ
except by denying ourselves.
Yet the power to do all these things
is given us in Christ, who strengthens us.
Therefore let us make this covenant with God our own,
trusting in the eternal promises and relying on divine grace.
The people stand.
The minister says:
Let us pray:
Holy One, in baptism,
you brought us into union with Christ who fulfils your gracious covenant;
and in bread and wine we receive the fruit of his obedience.
So with joy we take upon ourselves the yoke of obedience,
and commit ourselves to seek and do your perfect will.
Silence is kept for a time.
Let us say together:
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 for you or laid aside for 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 wholeheartedly yield all things
to your pleasure and disposal.
And now, glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
you are mine and I am yours,
to the glory and praise of your name.