O Lord, you have searched me and known me.2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from far away.3 You search out my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. Psalm 139: 1-3
So these days our family is slowly, but surely getting ready to sell our house. Soon weekends will probably be filled with packing and all the things that go into selling one house and buying another. Whether we’ve moved from a home onto campus this past fall or moved from one house to another at some point, we all know there’s a lot to it. This weekend my mind turned to the really long contracts and agreements that go into buying or selling a house or even renting an apartment. There will be pages upon pages upon pages to read and to sign.
At some point in everyone’s life, we’ll be presented with pages and pages of contracts and agreements. However, Lent is a reminder that we aren’t in contract with God. Instead we’re in covenant. As my colleague Dr. Casey Sigmon says, a covenant is a promise between living and loving parties. A covenant is a way of following God in context and in relationship. When we name the covenant we have with God, we can then name the covenant we have with other people, whether they be stranger or friend and whether those relationships be easy or hard.
Here’s the best part – unlike a contract, the God who is in covenant with us stays with us even when we falter, even when we fail. The God who is in covenant with us knows what to do with our uncertainty and imperfection, and knows what to do with our loss and struggle. This is a God who like the Psalmist says searched us and knows us and knows that we are fearfully and wonderfully made.
We belong to a God who sees the dust of Ash Wednesday last week as a place to dream of new possibilities, to envision resurrection and rebirth from the dust. That’s because the goal of our covenant with God is not perfection like contracts seem to demand, and the goal is not even wholeness. The goal and the hope of that covenant is relationship.
Holy God, who loves us in and through all our seasons, we pray as Lent begins that we turn our focus towards our covenants with you and with one another. Help us be attentive to what this Lenten season calls us into, to what it will create in and through us, and finally what you will do with it and us along the way. Amen.
by Rev. Angela Kaufman