Monday, March 10, 2014

Catching Up: Betray, Challenge, Covenant

The Lenten Pin A Day project continues.  I have been diligent with seeking quotes and making daily pins to my Pinterest board, however the blogging is a bit behind.  So today we get three.

If you enter Betray Quote into the search bar for Pinterest the overwhelming majority of pins will be this line from this Mumford and Sons song 'Sigh No More'.    The title track of their 'pastoral, remorseful and commanding' debut album, this rollicking English folk rock band has offered more than a sprinkling of theological depth to contemporary radio.  The love of God will not betray you, dismay or enslave you.  It will set you free.  Betrayal is the growing drum beat of Lent.  We betray Christ, we were there on the streets shouting, we are here in our homes turning away.
Everyday love and friendship however can be rife with betrayal.  I have only begun to let go of feeling betrayed by friends who broke with me for no reason at all.  Human friendships can lead to dismay.  However our love affair with God will not, if we are free partners in the relationship.

I see the word challenge, and the first thing that springs to mind is challenger.  As in the explosion.  The
disaster that punctuated my middle school years. In my lifetime it is one of the 'where were you when' moments.  I remember the fervor about this laywoman, this teacher, this non scientist, non military person making the journey into space.  The principal of my school had formerly been the principal at the school where Ms. McAuliffe taught.  He was at the launch, a firsthand witness of the disaster.  His grief was palpable over the loudspeaker when he returned from Florida.   Many more disasters and massacres have happened since, and unfortunately we are certainly faced with many more in the days to come.  Our challenge as people of God is how we rise to the challenge of disaster and tragedy.  How do we learn to listen, to stand do we not betray the call of Christ?

Q. How can we share in his victory over sin, suffering, and death ? A. We share in his victory when we are baptized into the New Covenant and become living members of Christ.   If my Kindle program can count correctly there are 82 instances of the word Covenant in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer.  The Common English Bible has the word 371 times.  Almost always in relation to how groups of people relate to each other or how they relate to God.  Biblical covenant is about mission and promise and faithfulness in action.  Interestingly, in the new Oxford book of Spiritual Quotations...there are no instances. Covenant is a loaded word in the public discourse. If you search Pinterest you get a lot of pins about marriage. There are subdivisions that proclaim that they are 'covenant communities' (agree to mow your lawn and not paint your home outrageous colors).  The idea of covenant is rooted in a just society, one where all are cared for, all are fed.  Agreements about exterior decor seem to be a misuse of the term.
In my tradition, the BCP Episcopal, Anglican traditions,  the Baptismal Covenant is the center of our life together and our common call to the mission of Christ.  Agreeing to a statement is one thing, making a promise of a life together and actually doing it is another.  Baptism isn't window dressing, it is lifestyle, it is just living.  In the ancient days the time of Lent was a time of special preparation for candidates who were ready to make the covenant promises with Christ and his people.  Would Lent be deeper, more rich with hope if we focused not on correcting our errors but living into our promises?  Continue, Return, Proclaim, Serve. Strive.


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