Watch Night

p1040107There are plenty of resources for Watch Night in the Methodist tradition.  Over the years as a pastor, I have used the Covenant Service on several occasions, on New Year’s Eve, the first Sunday of the New Year, on other special occasions.  My favorite services were those on New Year’s.  It is that countercultural element to being in worship on the brink of a New Year that makes sense to me.

Below is a version of the Covenant portion of the service to reflect upon as we enter 2013:

Sisters and brothers in Christ,
let us again accept our place within this
covenant which God has made with us and with all
who are called to be Christ’s disciples.
This means that, by the help of the Holy
Spirit, we accept God’s purpose for us,
and the call to love and serve God
in all our life and work.

Christ has many services to be done:
some are easy, others are difficult;
some bring honour, others bring reproach;
some are suitable to our natural inclinations
and material interests,
others are contrary to both;
in some we may please Christ and please
ourselves; in others we cannot please Christ except by
denying ourselves.
Yet the power to do all these things is given
to us in Christ, who strengthens us.
Therefore let us make this covenant of God
our own. Let us give ourselves to him,
trusting in his promises and relying on his
grace.
Eternal God,
in your faithful and enduring love
you call us to share in your gracious
covenant in Jesus Christ.
In obedience we hear and accept your
commands;
in love we seek to do your perfect will;
with joy we offer ourselves anew to you.

We are no longer our own but yours.
I am no longer my own but yours.
Your will, not mine, be done in all things,
wherever you may place me,
in all that I do
and in all that I may endure;
when there is work for me
and when there is none;
when I am troubled
and when I am at peace.
Your will be done
when I am valued
and when I am disregarded;
when I find fulfilment
and when it is lacking;
when I have all things,
and when I have nothing.
I willingly offer
all I have and am
to serve you,
as and where you choose.
Glorious and blessèd God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
you are mine and I am yours.
May it be so for ever.
Let this covenant now made on earth
be fulfilled in heaven. Amen.

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