This January it has been my great pleasure and privilege to have led the Covenant Services in all three of the churches that I minister to here in Hull. I am a great believer in the importance of the Covenant Service that was instituted by the Revd John Wesley in the early years of our movement. It is a reminder that the Christian faith is built on the promises of God, in Christ, and our faithful loving obedience to the
commands that we have been given.
The opening line of the Covenant prayer, in contemporary English states " I am no longer my own, but yours." The declaration, in response to what Jesus has done for us in his life, death and resurrection, is a commitment to put aside and abandon our own self-centredness and our own selfinterest in favour of a God centred way of living. A way of being that puts Jesus at the heart of everything and which
yields total control to Christ in our lives. In this way we no longer seek to do our will, but God's will, or rather we place our wills in complete agreement with God's, so our priorities are the same.
This is of course so often contrary to our own self-centred nature. So often we seek to associate ourselves with those causes and people who, in our minds, perpetuate our own interests. This can, at times, happen at the expense of others. Furthermore, we direct our judgement and our hostility towards those who, in our view, do not support, or seek to undermine those interests.
At the current time we live in a country that is hugely divided, with our angry public discourse being so often dominated by vitriol. In January the President and Vice President of the Methodist Conference and the Archbishop of Canterbury issued a public statement on our current political situation that expressed significant concern on this matter. "Jesus calls us to love one another, and even to love our enemies. In this time of political turmoil, we have been shocked at the anger and vitriol that has surrounded so much public discourse, personally, online and via social media. Our Christian heritage, along with other global faith and non-faith traditions, calls us to treat others as we would wish to be treated. This does not mean the absence of passionate difference, but it does call for respect for human dignity."
As Christians we should seek to build bridges across divides and work towards peace and justice; recognising the dignity and worth of every human being, who is made in the image of God. There can be no doubt that the coming months, and perhaps years, will be hugely chalenging for our country in a number of ways. Difficult times can lead us into retreating into selfishness and the building of (metaphorical) dividing walls in our society.
Yet each of us can and must play a part in contribution to God's way of peace and justice, by following Christ in our public, as well as private, lives and through the building of loving relationships. It is through our prayerful concern for others, open and obedient service to Christ, and by the help of the Holy Spirit, that we might see our community and society transformed by the loved of God.
Yours faithfully, Revd David Spiers