Thinking About Covenant

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What kind of "re-imagining" do we need to do to renew and refresh our covenantal relationships? 


Later today, Erika, Morgan, and I will head to the Minnesota Conference Annual Meeting. The theme for this year is “Sacred Re-Imagining” and The Many will be providing music. I am cautiously optimistic about this meeting as I have not been in person since 2019.

My mixed feelings aside, I have been thinking about covenant and the covenantal relationships that uphold the United Church of Christ. Sometimes it can feel as if Living Table were out in the world on its own. However, this is not the case.

We are connected to the Minnesota Conference and the wider church through covenant, through sacred promises. As part of the UCC we are committed to supporting the Conference and the national church, among other things. And the Conference and the national church are committed to supporting us.

Over the years that I have been in Minnesota, I have been engaged in ministries for the Conference and on the national level. I’ve also been supported by both Conference staff and national staff. These are important relationships for me, for Living Table.

I’ve often said that where I go, Living Table goes. It’s true. It’s also true that where you go, Living Table goes. This is part of the covenant that upholds Living Table.

The relationships we have with one another are sacred. The relationships we have with the other New Branches communities are sacred. The relationships we have in the community beyond our doors are just as sacred.

Maybe you don’t think a whole lot about Living Table during your week, and maybe you do. Either way, the covenants that bind us together are worth more reflection. How is the Sacred evident in our community? How do we reflect the Sacred as we go about our every day lives?

We don’t stop being in covenant with one another, the wider church, our neighbors, and God just because we don’t think about it. How can we be more intentional about sharing the gifts of Living Table with those who could most benefit from them?

What kind of “re-imagining” do we need to do to renew and refresh our covenantal relationships?

If you’ve read this far, please share your thoughts in the comments. We will continue to explore the idea of covenantal relationships and what it means to be God’s people on Sunday.

May all our relationships reflect the sacred promises that bind us together.

About Rachael Keefe

Rev. Dr. Rachael Keefe is the pastor of Living Table United Church of Christ. She was called to Living Table in 2015 after serving in many varied ministry settings since her ordination in 1992. She holds graduate degrees from Princeton Theological Seminary and Andover Newton Seminary at Yale (formerly Andover Newton Theological School). Her ministry and leadership often center around advocacy and accessibility. Her writing has been published by Chalice Press, The Christian Century, Red Letter Christians, Working Preacher, RevGalBlogPals, and others. She is grateful to be in ministry with Living Table today.

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6 thoughts on “Thinking About Covenant”

  1. As we get ready to head off for a trip that will take us away for two Sundays in a row, I can’t promise that, while we’re in Portugal, I will think consciously about my covenant with Living Table and/or the Minnesota Conference. But what I can promise is: that covenant will shape who I am and how I show up to all the people I’ll encounter along the way. I’ve been Congregational since childhood, and just assumed that how our church related within its walls, and to the world outside those bricks and mortar, was the way everyone was taught to live–that we had these promises and agreements we made to each other and the wider community, not governed by creeds or dogmas, but by our understandings of love, compassion, and kindness. Kinda like Jesus said…right?

    So my promise is: I’ll try not to embarrass y’all (or myself) while on this trip. May I be a credit to our denomination, and our faith.

    • Doug, thanks for sharing your thoughts. I don’t think you have anything to worry about in keeping your promise. Save travels! See you when you return.

  2. “How can we be more intentional about sharing the gifts of Living Table with those who could most benefit from them?”

    Many of my friends, none of whom are active in any sacred community, have asked me with a tone of bewilderment, “Are you still going to that church?” Knowing my friends as I do, I trust this question is rooted in a sense of protectiveness and care for me. However, it does make me bristle a bit and want to explain that our little community is different from the other churches that have caused harm. My efforts to describe the gifts I receive from being part of the Living Table community are often not fully understood. The truth is, the gifts it gives to me, the gifts our community gives to you, and the gifts our community can offer to others are as numerous and varied as each human being. That, I think, is important to keep in mind as we consider being more intentional about sharing the gifts of this community—we may not always know the specific needs of each person.

  3. I have not been inside of the walls at living table in person and not have I been a member for very long (if I even am a member I am not sure what makes a person a member), but it has been really nice listening to the music Pastor Racheal’s service’s and listening to you all talk and the conversation with each other. I remember the things I needed once and how another small church took me in and helped me understand so much more than I ever could on my own. I get the fellowship thing so much more now than before.

    I made a promise to my dad and I made another one when Rachael baptized me to Jesus and to a new father, and I truly tried to keep it. I recommit everyday and some days are better than others. I think that is what as people of God need to keep doing the best we can — everyday to be more Christ-like and not give up on ourselves and each other, as in all people.

    I believe the word covenant means a promise and the word that starts with an s isn’t the one that means fair but something that means big like a strong promise we make with in us to god and to each other as his people.


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