In service today we celebrated Baptism of the Lord Sunday by remembering our own baptisms and participating in John Wesley's Covenant Service. If you could not join us today, or would like to remember the Covenant, you can find it below.
Leader: Let us gathered here before the Lord now in covenant commit to ourselves to Christ as his servants. Let us give ourselves to Him so that we may fully belong to Him. Jesus Christ has left us with many services to be done. Some of these services are easy and honorable, but some are difficult and disgraceful. Some line up with our desires and interests, others are contrary to both. In some we please both Christ and ourselves, but then there are other works where we cannot please Christ except by denying ourselves. Jesus Christ, we offer You this prayer: People: Let me be Your servant. Let me follow your commands. I will no longer follow my own desires. I give myself completely to your will.
Leader: The power and strength to live as true servants is give to us in Christ. We accept the place and work that He gives us, acknowledging that He alone will be our reward. People: I am not my own. I am Yours alone. Make me into what You will. Rank me with those You will. Put me to use for You. Put me to suffering for You. Let me be employed for You. Let me be laid aside for You. Let me be lifted high for You. Let me be brought low for You. Let me be full or let me be empty. Let me have all things or let me have nothing. With a willing heart, I freely give everything to Your pleasure and disposal. Leader: Christ is Savior to those who are His true servants. He is the source of all salvation to those who obey. To be His servant is to consent fully to His will. Christ accepts nothing less. Christ will be all in all, or He will be nothing.
Now confirm this truth in holy covenant. Make it a reality in your life in these three ways: First, set apart time in your day, more than once, to be spent alone with the Lord. Seek to perceive God's special care for you and gracious acceptance of you. Carefully think through the words of this covenant and its conditions. Examine your heart, even if you have freely given your life to Christ. Name the sins in your life. Reflect on whether you are willing to choose Christ's holy laws and strict commands. Be sure you are clear in all of these so you do not lie to God! Second, uphold a serious spirit of Holy awe and reverence. Third, claim God's covenant. Do not trust in your own strength and power, but rely upon God's promise of giving grace and strength. In this way, He will empower you to keep your promise. Fourth, be determined to be faithful. You have given your heart and life to God. You have opened your mouth to dedicate yourself to the Lord. With God's power, never go back to your former way of living. And last, be prepared to renew your covenant with God. Fall on your knees. Lift your hands. Open your hearts.
The Covenant Prayer
Leader: Let us pray together:
People: My righteous God, for the sake of Your Son Jesus Christ, see me now as I fall down before You. Forgive my unfaithfulness when I have not done your will. You promise mercy if I turn to You with my whole heart. Leader: God requires that you rid yourself of every idol in your life. People: From the bottom of my heart, I here and now renounce every idol in my life, covenanting with You that I will not commit any known sin. By turning against Your will I have turned my love toward the world. In Your power I will watch for any temptation that will lead me away from You. Leader: Through Jesus Christ, God offers to be your God again, if you all Him to be. People: Before all heaven and earth, I here and now acknowledge You, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, as my Lord and God. I vow to give all of myself, body and soul, to be Your servant and to serve You in holiness and righteousness all the days of my life. Leader: Jesus Christ is the only way and means to God. God has given us Jesus as the way and means to salvation. People: Jesus, I here and now accept You and the only new and living Way. I join myself in covenant with You. I come to You hungry, sinful, miserable, blind and naked, unworthy even to wash the feet of Your servants. With all my power, I accept You as my Lord and Head. I renounce my own unworthiness and vow that You are the Lord, my righteousness. I renounce my own wisdom and take You for my only guide. I renounce my own will and take Your will as my law. Leader: Christ has told you that you must suffer with him.
People: Jesus, I here and now make this covenant with You and accept whatever comes in life. Through Your grace I promise that neither life nor death will separate me from You. Leader: God has given holy laws as the rule of your life. People: I here and now willingly take on your yoke and burden. All Your laws are holy, just and good. I accept them as the rule for my words, thoughts and actions, promising I will strive to order my whole life around your direction. I will not allow myself to neglect anything I know to be my duty. Leader: The Almighty God searches and knows you, even the thoughts of your heart.
O God, You know that we have made this covenant today in sincerity, without deceit or reluctance. If You find anything false in us, guide us and help us to set it right. And now, glory be to You, God the Father. From this day forward, I shall look upon You as my God and Father.
Glory be to You, God the Son. You have loved me and washed me from my sins in Your own blood. From this day forward, I shall look upon You as my Savior and Redeemer. Glory be to You, O God the Holy Spirit. By Your almighty power, You have turned my heart from sin to God. From this day forward, I shall look upon You as my Comforter and Guide.
O mighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, you have now become my Covenant Friend. And I, through Your infinite grace, have become Your covenant servant. You are mine and I am Yours. So be it. May this covenant that I have made here on earth be ratified in heaven. Amen.