Wesley’s (Abbreviated) Covenant Renewal with Communion Liturgy

I wanted to do the Wesleyan Covenant Renewal with my congregation, but wanted to abbreviate it and include communion liturgy.  The following is a shortened arrangement of the covenant renewal with responses, followed by the Great Thanksgiving for the new year.  Feel free to use it for yourself!

Brothers and sisters, from time to time we renew our covenant with God, especially when we reaffirm the Baptismal Covenant and gather at the Lord’s table.  Today, however, we meet, as the generations before us have met, to renew the covenant that binds us to God.  Let us make this covenant of God our own as we begin a new year of ministry and service as the Body of Christ.

We confirm this to be a holy covenant.

To make this covenant a reality in your life, listen to these admonitions:

First, set apart some time, more than once, to be spent alone before the Lord.

 We seek earnestly to be in God’s presence, acknowledging God’s gracious acceptance of each one of us. 

Search your hearts, whether you have already freely given your life to Christ.  Consider what your sins are.  Consider the laws of Christ, how holy and spiritual they are, and whether you, after carefully considering them, are willing to choose them all.

 We seek to be serious and in a spirit of holy awe and reverence before God.  We seek to claim God’s covenant, to rely upon God’s promise of giving grace and strength working in our lives.

 Resolve to be faithful.  You have given the Lord your  hearts, you have opened your mouths to the Lord, and you have dedicated yourself to God.  With God’s power, never go back.  At last then, be prepared to renew your covenant with the Lord.  Lift your hands toward heaven, open your hearts to the Lord as we pray:

 Lord, make me what you will.  I put myself fully into your hands: put me to doing, put me to suffering, let me be employed for you or laid aside for you, let me be full, let me be empty, let me have all things, let me have nothing.  I freely and with a willing heart give it all to your pleasure and disposal.  O God, I seek to make this covenant with you today without regret or reservation.  You have now become my Covenant Friend.  And I, through your infinite grace, have become your covenant servant.  Let this covenant that I have made on earth be ratified in heaven.  Amen.

 And so now at the start of a new year and a new journey together, we gather at the table together, affirming our covenant with God, our Creator, our Redeemer, Savior, and Friend as we prepare to meet Christ face to face at the feast of grace.

(Taken from the United Methodist Book of Worship, Great Thanksgiving for Epiphany/New Year):

The Lord be with you.

And also with you.

Lift up your hearts.

We lift them up to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

It is right to give our thanks and praise.

It is right, and a good and joyful thing, always and everywhere to give thanks to you, almighty God, creator of heaven and earth.  Before the mountains were brought forth, or you had formed the earth, from everlasting to everlasting, you alone are God.  You created light out of darkness and brought forth life on earth.  You formed us in your image and breathed into us the breath of life.  When we turned away, and our love failed, your love remained steadfast.  You delivered us from captivity, made covenant to be our sovereign God, and spoke to us through your prophets.

And so, with your people on earth and all the company of heaven, we praise your name and join their unending hymn:

Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory.  Hosanna in the highest.  Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.  Hosanna in the highest.

Holy are you, and blessed is your Son, Jesus Christ, in whom you have revealed yourself, our light and salvation.  You sent a star to guide wise men to where the Christ was born; and in your signs and witnesses, in every age and through all the world, you have led your people from far places to his light.

On the night in which he gave himself up for us… (words of institution)

And so, in remembrance of these your mighty acts in Jesus Christ, we offer ourselves in praise and thanksgiving as a holy and living sacrifice, in union with Christ’s offering for us, as we proclaim the mystery of faith:

Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.

Pour out your Holy Spirit on us gathered here, and on these gifts of bread and cup.  Make them be for us the body and blood of Christ, that we may be for the world the body of Christ, redeemed by his blood.  By your spirit make us one with Christ, one with each other, and one in ministry to all the world, until Christ comes in final victory, and we feast at his heavenly banquet.  Through your Son Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit in your holy Church, all honor and glory is yours, almighty God, now and forever.  Amen.

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