Invitation to Covenant
by Fiona Heath
Covenant is a word I associate with the film Raiders of the Lost Ark – an ancient artifact with tremendous power (clearly, I did not grow up in Christian household!). It isn’t a popular word today, but covenants can be a valuable tool for people living as a community. As Unitarian Universalists we are a covenantal people – joined together not by a common creed – but by a choice to be together. In today’s fragmented society, a covenant in which we choose to stand with one another has value. Our UU covenant also asks us to relate to one another based on our principles, to honour the dignity of each person, to live interdependently.
Living with a covenant suggests we are most human when we bind ourselves in relationship. But not just any relationship – relationships of trust, mutual accountability and continual return. So while we want to be authentic our individual selves, true to our own nature, we also need to be connected to one another. We are more ourselves, more human, when we make commitments to one another.
This isn’t all sunshine and roses, as human beings we fail at our commitments, we forget, we don’t check in, we are careless. the people you care about are going to disappoint, even hurt you. This chalice community will disappoint you. Life is lived in both failure and success. But living with a covenant asks us to find ways to reconnect and keep going; so we repair relationships even in disappointment and sorrow and find a way forward together.
Here at UCM, we created a covenant to clarify how we wished to treat one another.
We, the members of the Unitarian Congregation in Mississauga, affirm a Covenant of Right Relations. As Unitarian Universalists, we come freely into community, guided by our seven principles and nourished by the six sources.
In good faith, we covenant to:
- Assume good intentions.
- Listen deeply and seek understanding.
- Appreciate each person’s contributions.
- Communicate directly with people when differences exist.
- Speak to and about people with empathy and respect.
- Seek peaceful and constructive resolutions to conflict.
- Ask for help when we need help in dealing with situations.
- Forgive each other and ourselves when mistakes are made.
Being in covenant asks us to work through heartbreak and re-connect. To keep on being in relationship and take care of each other, to remember that we are all in this together.
This month, let us consider all the covenants in our lives, from marriage to family to church. How is it to live in covenant? How is it good for us? Where do we struggle? May we live with attention to the choices we make.
May 01, 2020
May 01, 2020
May 01, 2020