Over the last month or so God has really been speaking to me more in depth about the word “covenant.” It seems to be something that God has impressed on many lately. With all the events happening in the world this summer, I think more and more we need each other. We need to be together, share our thoughts with one another, pray for one another, and simply be there for one another. I have always considered my church my “family” since we were transplanted to Cleveland, but now I think that we, as a body, are moving into a deeper commitment and covenant with those whom we are connected. What came to me is that there is a progression in this connectedness; what I’m calling the three “C’s”: Communion—then Covenant—and finally, Community.
When I hear the word “communion,” I immediately think of the Lord’s Supper. The word “communion” is taken from the Latin word communio, which means “sharing in common” and the French words com- with and unis- oneness. Our modern definition is simply“intimate fellowship or rapport.” When we partake of the Lord’s Supper, we express our intimate fellowship with Jesus and God our Father. As we draw near to Him in intimate ways—through prayer, worship, or taking communion, we are experiencing communion in the deepest sense. Most of us have felt and sensed God’s presence in tangible ways, but our cry is that we want more of Him—this comes by pursuing intimate communion with Him.
The more we experience this intimacy, the easier, I believe, that it is to establish a covenant relationship with others. As we have heard, there are many examples of covenant. God established covenants with the men of the Old Testament, such as Noah, Abraham, Moses, and others. Then the New Covenant was established through Jesus’ death and resurrection. “For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled, sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who though the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Heb. 9:13-14 NASB). Only as we become healed through our own revelation of the Father’s love, can we truly embrace what this New Covenant means for us. Then another example of covenant is, of course, the marriage covenant. Most marriages suffer because of not truly understanding what “till death do us part” means. One of the results of the societal breakdown happening today is the breaking of this sacred vow or covenant that husbands and wives make between themselves. So, a covenant can happen in several places, whether it’s between you and God, you and your spouse, or you and others through the Body of Christ.
We establish covenants through others, I believe in two ways—either through our family, our blood relatives, through our local body of Christ, or through the body of Christ as a whole. This is where Community comes in and we have a long way to go. We know that in the book of Acts when they “were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer,” not only did they experience “many signs and wonders,” but they also “began selling their property and possessions, and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. And day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breading bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved” (Acts 2:42-47 NASB).
In our modern society today, living like this seems too radical, but there actually are several religious sects around the world that do take these scriptures literally. I’m not suggesting that we do this, but as we know, in our own country it has been said that if the church would do its part in giving to others, there would be no need for a welfare system. To me there also seems to be a connection between experiencing the signs and wonders and the close-knit unity that the early church fostered. As others see the church in action, revival will automatically happen. My prayer is “Lord, show us how to truly be true covenant believers. We want you, we need you, we need each other now more than ever.” The world is seeking truth and justice. The body of Christ can provide this only by His strength, grace, and wisdom.