Our God is a God who is faithful and tender,
whose love to his children casts out every fear;
a covenant God whose firm promise is binding;
a promise renewed to us year upon year.
God’s covenant promise declared in the heavens,
affirmed by his Son through the love he has shown,
applied now to us by the work of his Spirit –
that promise we trust as we make it our own.
The covenant God made is with all his people;
the grace he has offered extends to us still.
Responding in faith, we now pledge to live always
with Christ at the centre, his will to fulfill.
Lord, show us a sign that your promise is certain
as here we renew our own covenant today.
“I’ll show you in bread and in wine at my table;
a rolled away gravestone will show you the way”.
Words: © 2014 Linda Ashford
Suggested tunes: Written with “Streets of Laredo” in mind (Youth Praise 2) but works well with The Road and the Miles to Dundee (StF 604)
The Covenant Service is a unique gift to Methodism from its founder, John Wesley: a moment for renewing our commitment to God’s hopes for us – affirming that we give our lives and choices to God – even as we celebrate all that God has done for us. The service is often held at the beginning of the calendar year or at the start of the Methodist ‘Church year’ (September). The Covenant Prayer that is central to the service begins:
I am no longer my own but yours.
Put me to what you will,
rank me with whom you will…
Read the complete prayer and find out more about the background to the service and its origins. You can also download a study guide to the service prepared for Roots resources.
With only a handful of hymns in Singing the Praise especially reflecting the Covenant promises (they are listed here – along with those published only on StF+), we are glad to have published on this site a number of texts that reflect on covenant love in a number of ways. This hymn, by Linda Ashford, offers a particular emphasis on the idea that our love of, and commitment to, God is a reflection of the love and commitment that God has first offered to us. Linda writes of the qualities of God that inspire and allow us to live out the challenges of the Covenant prayer in hope and faith.
As one member of the Singing the Faith Plus Reference Group has pointed out, Linda’s words, though especially suited to the Covenant Service, may also be used helpfully during a service of Holy Communion or at Easter.