"Our Covenant God" by Lynne McCarthy
A couple of questions from Sunday; thank you to those who wrote.
1. How do I become part of God’s covenant?
Remembering that God initiates covenant and not we, from the Noahic to the New Covenant faith is the basis for becoming part of God’s covenantal care for us. As we desire to believe or increase our faith in Him, He welcomes us into His covenant of love, renewing us daily, growing us into Him without our even realizing it (read the parable in Mk 4:26-29, or the Mustard Seed in Mt 17:31).
We know we are part of God’s new covenant of love as we partake of the Eucharist in company with our brothers and sisters in the faith. The bread and wine are the signs of Christ’s sacrifice of His body and the shedding of His blood. We receive the bread and wine, by faith, to remember His sacrifice that forgives our sins.
The next question/s are too vast to answer in a brief blog, so here are some useful internet sites.
2. If all members of the Trinity share the attributes of deity, what is the significance of differentiating the individuals? Is it to recognize their role or distinct action? If so, how does this not divide the Trinity, nor diminish the deity which they share?
The Reformed viewpoint: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/two-reasons-trinity-matters/
The Catholic viewpoint: https://churchlifejournal.nd.edu/articles/the-best-guide-for-understanding-the-trinity/#:~:text=In%20the%20New%20Testament%2C%20the,it%20speaks%20of%20the%20Trinity.
The Anglican viewpoint: The “39 Articles of Religion” are found in the Book of Common Prayer (in the pews on the chapel side). Article 1 addresses faith and the Trinity.
The Orthodox viewpoint: https://www.oca.org/orthodoxy/the-orthodox-faith/doctrine-scripture/the-holy-trinity/the-doctrine-of-the-holy-trinity
At base, we have to leave aside our Enlightenment dependence on rational explanations, and take on the attitude that Trinity is, ultimately, a mystery of God, revealed when Christ returns.
Brief summaries of the main covenants, including the Edenic Covenant:
1. Edenic: Between God and His first humans.
- Have dominion over Creation, care for it.
- All tree fruits for them except Tree of Knowledge.
- Disobedience = consequences for all of Creation until Christ returns.
Sign: clothing Promise: a Redeemer.
Our part? A new discipline to care for the world around us, to change how we take Creation for granted. How do we care for what He has given us?
2. Noahic: Between God and righteous Noah.
- Righteous Noah and his family saved from a destroying flood.
- Obediently builds an ark despite mockery.
- Offers sacrifice when God restores the earth.
Sign: rainbow Promise: God will never again destroy the earth.
Our part? To pray God’s continuing restraint of evil in this world (and our city, as we prayed last month) and not stop. How does this covenant continue in our world and lives?
3. Abrahamic: Between God and Abraham.
- Went where God commanded.
- Believed God would fulfill His promises.
Signs: circumcision; a son Promise: generations under God’s care; land
Our part? To show God to the world in our words and actions. When our plans don’t work, we trust God for His, then listen prayerfully to His new instructions. What of our plans or attitudes might need alteration? How will we do this?
4. Mosaic: Between God and Israel, Moses as mediator.
Israel initially agreed to keep God’s Law.
- Constantly deviated from their agreement.
- God brings them out of slavery into Promised Land.
Sign: the Law, 10 Commandments. Promise: become a great nation
Our part? Continued obedience to God’s law, embodied in Jesus by love. The intricacies of the written law were summed up twice, in Deuteronomy and by Jesus Himself: Love God above all, and your neighbour as yourself. What ‘laws’ are you trying to follow? How do we learn to trust God?
5. Davidic: Between God and David.
God will build a ‘house’ for David.
- Someone from his line will always sit on that throne.
- Culminated in Jesus’ coming as Son of David, Son of God.
Sign: kings in David’s line. Promise: someone of David’s line will always be on the throne, i.e., Jesus.
Our part? To remember that Jesus is the Son of God, our great and glorious King who loves us. The Psalms reinforce this revelation. Which Psalms speak to you deeply about who God is?
6. New Covenant: Between God and His believing people.
- A new covenant of God’s forgiveness for the people’s sins.
- Fulfilled in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
- All who believe are under this covenant.
Signs: faith; baptism in the name of the Trinity. Promise: our adoption into God's forever family, the Church.
Our part in this ongoing covenant? To love God with all our hearts, to forgive others with all our will, to love others as God loves us. Tell others that this is made possible by Jesus’ loving sacrifice. How do our Baptismal vows resemble a new covenant? How can we keep this ongoing covenant?
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In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.