Practicing the Better: God, God, God

The most important thing to say about Covenant is that it is created by God.  Just as God made the world, God made the Covenant.  The great danger in life is to forget the God-grounded nature of all things.  Covenant is no exception.

Eugene Peterson has written powerful words to remind us of this, “First God. God is the subject of life.  God is foundational for living. If we don’t have a sense of the primacy of God, we will never get it right, get life right, get our lives right. Not God at the margins; not God as an option; not God on the weekends. God at the center and circumference. God first and last; God, God, God.” [1]

Without this, the ego has enough room to create empire–“the kingdoms of this world,” which compete with and/or conquer the Kingdom of God.  Boiled down to its essence, the Covenant’s first and foremost message is, “I am God, and you are not.”. Far from being an oppressive message, it is actually the word that sets us free  (from our egotism/ethnocentrism) to live in God and for the glory of God–which is what being created in the image of God is meant to be.

With respect to the practice of the better, Covenant reminds us that the goodness we seek to manifest is a fruit, not the root.  We are instruments of peace, not the inventors of it.  And because we live, move, and have our being in God we are never alone in our practice of the better. God is with us!

[1] Eugene Peterson, ‘Conversations: The Message Bible with Its Translator (NavPress, 2007), 24.  This has been retitled as ‘The Message Study Bible.’

About Steve Harper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 42 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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