What comes to your mind when you hear the world Covenant? For those who are Christian, the stories of the Old Testament might come back. There were five famous covenants in the Old Testament between Man and God:
- Noah’s or the Noahic Covenant – Genesis 9:8-17
- Abraham’s or the Abrahamic Covenant – Genesis 12-17
- Moses’s or the Mosaic Covenant – Exodus 19-24
- Aaron’s or the Priestly Covenant – The Torah or Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy
- David’s or the Davidic Covenant – Jeremiah 33:17-21
So what is a Covenant?
A covenant is a legal contract, usually between two persons. In the cases listed above, they were made between a person/people group and God. A Covenant is the most binding for of contract in the Ancient Near East (or Old Testament Biblical Times).
Before AJ and I were married, we heard a wonderful Chapel sermon by Professor Peter Kerr, talking about what went into the Covent Ceremony and the meaning behind it. There is no doubt why Christian Marriage is also called the Marriage Covent. If you would like to hear Prof. Kerr’s sermon, you can listen to it here.
Covenants in My Life
Joining God’s Family
When I was a child, I made the decision at a very young age that I wanted to be apart of the family of God. At that time, it was not me making a covenant, but God making one. He made a promise to me, and my family, that by being in his family, by being one of his children, he would look out for me in this life and the life to come. At the age of four, I had no idea what that truly meant. I just knew that I loved God and I wanted to always be with him.
As I got older, at times I worked hard to hold up my end of the bargain. I tried to follow God’s commandments and listen to his voice. However, there were times when I did not strive to keep my end up. That is what is key though. God promised me he would always look out for me. He did not make that promise on the pretense that I was doing my part, or that I was behaving myself. In the end, he continued to do what was best for me, even if I was not doing it for myself.
When AJ and I got married, we made a promise to each other, and to God. We signed a covenant (legal and spiritual) to always work hard to do what is best for our family and the other. We promised God to live our lives according to his will. We promised that no matter what, we would work through all that happened in life.
As a sign of our covenant between ourselves and God, we took communion with our friends and family. Communion is the sign of the New Testament Covenant. The Covenant Christ signed when he died on the cross for each of us. It is this covenant that as a child, I joined into.
As I prepare in these finals weeks of pregnancy for Abigail’s arrival into this world, I am reminded of the covenants I have previously made. I have promised God that I will do his will and I have promised AJ that I will love and cherish him. AJ and I together have promised God we will do what is right in His eyes for our family.
Now it is time for AJ and I to make another promise. The United Methodist Book of Worship states, “The Baptismal Covenant is God's word to us, proclaiming our adoption by grace, and our word to God, promising our response of faith and love.” What that means, is that when a person is baptized, they are not saved by their own actions or even their own faith. They are saved because God chooses to bring us into The New Covenant. The same covenant that Christ signed when he died and that we remember when we take communion. None of the acts are done through us. We have no ability to secure our salvation. God gives us redemption through the love he has for us and through Christ’s sacrifice.
The act of Infant Baptism is the ultimate sign that we have no ability to save ourselves. Abigail will be adopted into God’s family, by his doing alone. When she is old enough, she will have to decide if she wants to take ownership of her side of the covenant, just as I did. Click here to Read the UMC Baptism Covenant.
The Wedding Dress
A bride’s dress is very special to her. It marks the magnitude of the day’s event. She only wears it once. White is the color of purity, as she stands before God, her family, friends, and husband to be and pledges herself to him. For me, my wedding dress is just another symbol of the Covenant AJ and I made before God on January 3, 2009 at the alter of Niceville United Methodist Church. There, we remembered our baptisms through the sacrament of Holy Communion.
Cutting Up the Wedding Dress
I saved my wedding dress for one purpose, to make baptism gowns for my future children. I cannot wait to present Abigail to God before my church, family, and friends, in a dress made from my dress: the symbol of one covenant, being reused as a symbol of another one.
As the day of her arrive approaches, I find myself getting more excited about her baptism than anything. This is where AJ and I get to keep our promise to God, to always do his will for our family. We are taking advantage of both sets of Grandparents being present after her birth, so that we can all stand before God and commit Abigail into his family. She will only be my child for a couple short weeks. After that, she will be God’s!