What Is a Covenant?
- Tuesday, July 25, 2017
The term "covenant" is of Latin origin (con venire), meaning a coming together. The word "covenant, " is infrequently heard in conversation, but is quite commonly used in legal, social, and religious and theological contexts.
It presupposes two or more parties who come together to make a contract, agreeing on promises, stipulations, privileges, and responsibilities.
But in the biblical tradition it has a much richer and deeper meaning, building on the ancient promise that “I will be your God, and you shall be my people.” (Jeremiah 7:23)
The biblical words most often translated "covenant" are berit in the Old Testament (appearing about 280 times) and diatheke in the New Testament (at least 33 times). Covenant, in this sacred sense, refers to the binding together of people in mutual trust and loyalty with God and within the community of faith.
As the Knox body and teams, we are developing a Behavioral Covenant. Some of this work will take place at the MidSummer Meal on July 29th, continue through the summer and early fall, with a Covenanting Service taking place September 24th.
Behavioral Covenants are Manners for a Faith Community: A behavioral covenant is a written document developed by leaders, agreed to and owned by its creators and practiced on a daily basis as a spiritual discipline.
The Covenant answers the question, “How will we behave (how will we live together?) when we don’t understand each other and when we don’t agree?”
– Gil Rendle, Behavioral Covenants in Congregations
These are some of the guidelines for our interaction with each other:
• We seek to build each other up and not tear down.
• We seek to communicate clearly, completely, and directly.
• We offer our opinions with charity and humility.
• We make positive investments in each others lives.
• We seek to discover what is best for our church as a whole, not what may be best for us or for some small group in the church.
• We accept disagreement, conflict and evaluation as normal and natural.
• We believe the best of each other and give each other the benefit of the doubt.