Deuteronomy 31:9 –13
Then Moses wrote down this law, and gave it to the priests, the sons of Levi, who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and to all the elders of Israel. Moses commanded them: “Every seventh year, in the scheduled year of remission, during the festival of booths, when all Israel comes to appear before the Lord your God at the place that he will choose, you shall read this law before all Israel in their hearing. Assemble the people—men, women, and children, as well as the aliens residing in your towns—so that they may hear and learn to fear the Lord your God and to observe diligently all the words of this law, and so that their children, who have not known it, may hear and learn to fear the Lord your God, as long as you live in the land that you are crossing over the Jordan to possess.”
Today our service centers mainly around prayer. We commit ourselves on this first Sunday of the year to remember what it means to be a Christian. While it is our faith alone that saves us, we accept a great deal of responsibility in accepting the divine calling we have been offered. Regularly it helps for us to take time to intentionally remember all that God has set before us. Like the Israelites at Sinai, like those who celebrate Sukkot into today, we must recount the covenant we are part of and re-affirm our desire to be part of God’s kingdom.
Normally I would take ten or fifteen minutes for us to review our scripture and engage with it on a deeper level. Today, I want our covenant prayer to speak for itself. Written by John Wesley long ago, this service has been performed since then by many in the Wesleyan tradition. It is not scripture, and so is not essential to salvation. Yet, it is dripping with the truth of the Gospel, and our recitation today will cover a great deal of what God has done to set us on our path of righteousness.
If you have ever been a part of a service like this, rejoice in being able to once again recall all that God has done for us. If you have not been a part of this sort of service before, listen carefully and weigh carefully the burden of the faith which we all take on every day. Though far lighter than the burden of sin and death, it is not something to be taken lightly, and we should not commit today to something we will be unwilling to do tomorrow. Today, we reconfirm our love of God through the rejoining of our Covenant with God. Let us approach in joy and solemnity the altar of God which welcomes us all home. – Amen.
The Covenant Service Can be Found Here: