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Auld Lang Syne

Auld Lang Syne is a popular, often melancholy expression used (and sung) during this season of the new year. It is a Scottish phrase, literally meaning “old long since,” and is translated “times long past.” I don’t know the definition of “long past,” but certainly, in our frenetic, attention deprived society, it does refer to the year being closed out this weekend.

There are many reasons I’m glad 2022 is about in the drawer. If we were to compare, I imagine each of us would have some of the same items on our list and many that are different. In the midst of it, however, there are signs of hope.

I’m thinking about NBUMC. We have had a good year. Our music program continues to be first-rate, our worship attendance is up, our finances are up and, intangibly, there is a sense that we are beginning to look with hope to the future. More on that next week when I devote my “Bits & Pieces” to my goals for 2023. I’m looking forward to what the new year will bring!

As preparation for the new year and as good Wesleyan Methodists, we will observe the Covenant Renewal Service this Sunday, January 1. Covenant is a strange word. It is found in Scripture numerous times and speaks to a “binding,” specifically as animals were bound at night, allowing them move yet not to run and thus be lost.

For us, covenant is a binding. We establish a covenant when things are good, knowing they will bind us to the community if and when they aren’t. Unlike a contract, a covenant is not nullified when one party fails to live up to the conditions. Covenants are in force until, well, until they aren’t. God has established a covenant with God’s people on Sinai. Jesus established a new covenant, written on the human heart. I am thankful that our relationship with God through Christ is not contractual—whew. Likewise, our church membership is a covenant, even though many treat it as a contract.

Wesley asked, read “required,” people to reaffirm their covenant with God annually. It was a reminder of the covenant and an opportunity to “re-up.” We will do the same this Sunday. We will ask ourselves some pointed questions and make a prayerful vow to God, renewing our portion of the covenant. I have always found this service to be very meaningful.

As a New Year’s Resolution, plan to attend, renew your covenant, and begin a new habit of being a part of the worshipping congregation.

See you Sunday,


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