September 20 marked the first day of a new congregational year of Religious Education classes. The time for all ages was a ritual in renewing the covenant of religious education for this congregation. The responsive readings included the many parties to making religious education happen: children, youth, adults, volunteer teachers, staff, parents, non-parents, the congregation as a whole.
As mentioned in the ceremony, “covenant” includes the promises, the commitments, the agreements we make to each other. Covenants often include behavioral expectations so that right relationship is fostered within and beyond the community. Covenants also include the aspiring statements of why we are coming together, why we are committing to higher standards.
While the Religious Education covenant renewal is an annual ritual, and seasons and other religious traditions include variations of such covenant renewals, starting over, starting fresh exercises, those covenants are a part of our daily living.
What covenants have you made with yourself?
With your partner?
With your siblings?
With your family?
With your neighbors, classmates, peers, co-workers?
The covenants may be written or unwritten, explicit or implicit, spoken or unspoken. Whatever form they take, each day is an opportunity to renew them. Perhaps it is even better to “take inventory” of how you’re doing with your respective covenants on a daily basis and not wait for a once a year re-start! Maybe not every day, maybe not every week, but it can be more challenging to go too long without a “covenant check”.
So whether it is the RE volunteer covenanting, the RE Class covenants that are updated each year, or the covenant implied/included in a renewed sense of mission statement- they are only as good and as useful as they are being lived out today!