Ok the final part of my own top 5 loves about Methodism. The other parts are 42: 5 things I, me, myself,, love about Methodism – part 1, 42: 5 things I, me, myself,, love about Methodism – part 2, 42: 5 things I, me, myself,, love about Methodism – part 3 and 42: 5 things I, me, myself,, love about Methodism – part 4.
- "Meeting the Living God"
- "Commitment to Equality and Diversity (or Inclusion)"
- Methodist Ministry
Now we have
5. The Methodist Covenant Service
I wanted to include something distinctive about Methodist Worship and especially at this time of year our covenant service really stands out for me. It is especially wonderful as I get to lead it five times (and attend another as a member of the congregation). By the end I am really starting to get to grips with what it means for me. Along with a few other items in the year (retreats, Greenbelt, some small groups etc) it is one of the things that really lifts me and sustains me in my ministry.
For me this year some posts by my friend Pam have really helped challenge me on what the covenant means see Holy Communion and Pushing on Closed Doors particularly this quote:
I'm reminded of the part of John Wesley's covenant prayer where we pray "let me be employed for you or laid aside for you" and I always secretly thought "thank you that I am employed for you, and – truth be told – I don't really want to be laid aside for you, thank you very much." And then another part of me wonders what John Wesley himself was thinking when he said these words. His life story is not exactly one of allowing himself to be laid aside!
I don't think that this prayer necessarily implies passivity. I don't think it implies giving up on pushing doors. For me, I think it implies the need to find new doors to push and it also implies being patient whilst going through the process of finding new doors and pushing on them. There is also comfort in these difficult words, because other people throughout the centuries have prayed them in far more difficult circumstances than I'm in.
I don't want to include the Covenant Prayer here, though it is wonderful, as if that were all the Covenant service is. For me the whole package (hymns/songs, prayers, scripture readings, sermon, covenant prayer, Holy Communion) is needed and essential and it is the full combination that makes the service.
Anyway there is the 5th thing I love about Methodism, as I said at the beginning there are many many more and I advise looking at the Methodist archive section of 42 to find more of them.
PS also see Eternal Echoes: Body Language.