By: Rachael Palmer
The first thing that pops into my head when I hear this word is the standard, Sunday School translation of the bible verse that reads, in part, “My covenant with you will never be broken, says the Lord.” (Isaiah 54:10). But after growing up in a very active youth ministry at church, I have come to learn there is something particularly special about a covenant. It is not the same as a promise. Promises can, and often are, broken. (Does “I promise I’ll never tell anyone!” ring a bell?) A covenant, on the other hand, cannot be broken. It is eternal. It is unbreakable.
And somehow, God has made these covenants with us, his children. The ones who often ignore him and disobey him. He will forgive us, love us, help us, and care for us for now and the end of time. Think about that for a second. That in itself is pretty incredible. God, who doesn’t make mistakes, lie, or cheat, will be here for…us?
I believe, wholeheartedly, that church is just as much for the broken as it is for the people we often think of as belonging to the church. Church shouldn’t be just for the people who seem to have it all figured out with perfect lives, perfect attendance, and have been going for years. Church is really for those of us still figuring it out. It’s for the people who need help on their spiritual journey and on their walk with God. It’s for the homeless, the gamblers, the addicted, and anyone else who truly wants to come. So no matter who you are, the covenants that God has made will be there for you.
So here’s the hard part: God is upholding his end of the bargain. But what are we doing? Are we truly loving each other in the ways that we are called to do so? In both the little ways and the big ways? Are we reading scripture? Are we welcoming the truly broken into our churches? Are we living our lives as just another Christian, or as a true disciple of Jesus?
No matter your answer to those last questions, God is here. And he’s waiting for you with open arms. Or maybe with a metaphorical pen to help you sign your end of the agreement. Lent is the perfect time to accept the invitation and to solidify your commitment to your personal relationship with God. It will take time, and work, and you won’t always get it right. But your covenant with God will truly never be broken.