We don’t often think of ringing in the new year with a church service, but in the Methodist/Wesleyan tradition, that is exactly where people wanted to be! John Wesley and the early Methodists began a tradition of holding a Covenant Service on New Year’s eve, or the day before the new year started. Other communities have similar traditions like Watch Night in the Black church or vigils.
It was expected that, at the beginning of each new year, congregations would renew their covenant with God, often using a traditional Covenant
Service. The Covenant prayer is part of this service, prayed together by the congregation as a way of beginning each new year remembering and
renewing their baptismal covenant.
The prayer reminds us of what it looks like to follow Jesus, loving God with all our heart, soul, and mind, and loving our neighbor as ourselves. Of course,
Wesley and the early Methodists also strongly believed that this way of life was only possible in a community centered around the risen Jesus Christ.
As you begin this new year, remember and renew your covenant with God and faithfully live as Christ’s representative in the world!