March 8th: Covenant

© Amanda Tobey

In the church confirmation refers to the intentional commitment that a person makes to respond to God’s grace to public reaffirm their baptism vows before the congregation.This is first public affirmation of your baptismal vows for most United Methodists because of infant baptism. Yet, our new covenant with Jesus Christ and our membership with the church starts at baptism. The liturgy in the service of confirmation asks us very important questions that we often forget once we join the church. By doing that we are breaking our covenant with God.

One piece of liturgy that we say asks us “Do you renounce the spiritual forces of wickedness, reject the evil powers of this world, and repent of your sin?”. By saying yes to this we are outwardly declaring that we reject the evil powers of the world. We can do this by speaking up against President Trump and his cabinet by declaring that we know what he and his cabinet is doing is wrong and goes against our beliefs as christians and as United Methodists. We also repent of our sins, we recognize that we have failed as Christians and we ask that God forgives us but, we know that we have work to do to move on to perfection.

Another piece of liturgy we say asks us “Do you accept the freedom and power God gives you to resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves?”. When we say yes to this we are outwardly declaring that we will stand up for injustice and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves. However, we don’t follow through on this very well. As Christians we are constantly failing at standing up against racism, homophobic, transphobia both inside and outside the church. We as Christians need to not be silent any longer. We need to speak up and say that black lives matter, that The United Methodist Church has discriminatory language against LGBTQIA people thats causing harm. As Christians we are called to use our voice for the greater good, our baptismal covenant calls on us to resist evil, injustice, and oppression wherever they present themselves.

A third piece of liturgy we say asks us as “As members of this congregation, will you faithfully participate in its ministries by your prayers, your presence, your gifts, your service and your witness?”. This one cane be a hard one for people, even me. When you join a congregation you commit to praying not only for yourself, but for the other congregation members, your pastor(s) and the church. By joining the church you also commit to being present on Sundays and for other church functions such as Bible studies or small groups, you can’t just join the church and then drop off the face of the earth.  Each of us has gifts and as Christian we must use those gifts for the common good. For example if you are gifted in working with children you might decide to help volunteer in the children’s ministry. The gifts you bring to the church allow you to be of service to the needs of the congregation. Lastly we have witness, this one I struggle with a lot. As Christians are witness is important, it is how we are viewed upon by others. Our we as Christian’s acting in a Christ like matter or are we doing the exact opposite?

I said yes, to these vows “Do you accept the freedom and power God gives you to resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves?”  when I joined the church. I continue to say yes to these vows when another person joins my congregation. I will continually says yes to these vows as I start the ordination process to become a Deacon. Will you boldly proclaim these vows and say yes to them?

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