Reflection on Covenant

This blog post is an excerpt from a past worship service about the concept of covenant. If you have any questions or comments for Ben or any of our church leaders and members, please do get in touch! You can also connect with us via our online communities on Facebook and Instagram. Let’s chat!


Good morning! In the next few minutes I’m going to share a few things I believe, and ask a lot of questions. My goal is to start a conversation — in coffee hour, in meetings, in private conversations. If you have an answer to any of my questions, or if you agree or disagree with anything I’ve said, I’d love to hear it. And I encourage you to talk with others as well. Our topic today – covenant –  touches the very heart and soul of our church community — now and in the future.

When I was working on the canvass a few years ago, I wrote that worship is the single most important thing we do together. It’s what distinguishes us from a support group, a social club, or a political action group. It’s what makes us a church. Even though we have differing views of what it means, what it’s all about, it’s still a time when we come together as a community to celebrate something larger than ourselves, something sacred and life-affirming; to gather strength; to share wisdom and comfort and joy; and to recommit ourselves to living as people of faith.

What Does It Mean to Live as People of Faith?

But what does that mean? “Living as people of faith?” We have these 7 Principles we tout to the world. What do these principles mean to us? What role do they play in our lives? In our individual lives, our family life, or the life of our church? Do they have a role? What do we do differently because we have these principles? Do we do anything differently? 

How do you see our 7 Principles? Are they descriptive? “This is who we are”? Or are they aspirational? “This is who we want to be.” Since most things in life aren’t binary, maybe it’s somewhere in the middle.

To me, this is a crucial question. Because to the extent that we see them as descriptive, then we don’t have to DO anything to live our principles because this assumes that we already are. We’re done. We’ve arrived. This is who we are.

If we see them as aspirational, as goals we aim for and miss and try again and miss again, but – we hope – get closer every time, then we have work to do. Together.

Do you see what I’m saying? 

Who Do We Want to Be?

What happens when some someone, some brave soul, dares to assert that we’re missing the mark in some way. We can reject this input because it conflicts with our idealized self image, OR we can embrace it – with gratitude even – because it gives us an opportunity to move closer to who we want to be.

I’m asking these questions because they’re fundamental to what it means to be a covenantal community. Who do we want to be? Are we satisfied with who we are? Do we want to maintain that in a kind of stasis, or do we want to become something different – and if so, what? What do we want as a community? What do we agree is important? Are there ways we aren’t living our principles as fully as we’d like? What do we need to do – how do we want to be – to enable our church to not only survive but thrive in the years to come? Let’s talk about it!”

Ben Ogilvie