From the earliest days of the Methodist societies, John Wesley invited the Methodist people to renew their covenant relationship with God. There is a noble history of this annual service, usually taking place in January, and the emphasis of the whole service is on God’s readiness to enfold us in generous love, not dependent on our deserving. Our response springs with penitent joy from thankful recognition of God’s grace. So it was that we celebrated our Covenant Service last Sunday led by the Rev’d Roger Baker, who was welcomed by our steward Bunty Hodgkins. Jonathan Baddeley played the piano.
We followed the order of the Covenant Service from the Methodist Service Book in affirmation, prayer and response with a bible reading from John’s gospel, chapter 15, read by Keith Harrison. This told of the calling of some of the disciples of Jesus, in the early days of his ministry. “Come and see” said Philip to Nathanael and the calling of his disciples formed the theme of Roger’s words later in the service.
He repeated some words of Nathanael who disdainfully asked, “can anything good come out of Nazareth?” “Come and see” was Philip’s answer. Roger spoke of the growth of Christianity in South America and Africa as God’s saving grace expands in these continents. He spoke of the many instances of lives which have been transformed by this grace showing heaven’s power at work. The disciples were with Jesus throughout the three years of his ministry and for three years they saw the power of God through Jesus Christ. They responded to the invitation to ‘Come and see’ and our lives are equally transformed if we respond to this invitation, like that made to the first disciples.
We shared in the sacrament of Holy Communion, with Jill Harrison assisting Roger to administer the elements of bread and wine to concluded a memorable annual Covenant Service in which we renewed our relationship with God.