Marriage vows are probably the only words that come close to the words of the Covenant Prayer that we will be praying today. To declare both Marriage vows and Covenant prayer one needs more than courage — one needs to be in love! For it is only love that casts out the fear that Marriage vows and Covenant prayer easily provoke.
Like Marriage vows the Covenant prayer expects faithfulness regardless of circumstances. In other words, we commit that our relationship with God is not going to be determined by riches or poverty, sickness or health. In other words, our relationship with God is not a contract that we negotiate with terms and conditions looking after our interests. Rather, it is freely giving-up our own interests because we are so in love that we are willing to trust — and trust fully and forever.
The one great difference between the Covenant prayer and Marriage vows is that we can confidently leave out the “till death us do part”. And this is no small gift. Knowing that we do not have to fear death sets us free to risk loving even more boldly and generously. We are set free to even risk giving our life. Now I know this sounds dramatic — and I guess it is — but it is also very natural and obvious. Think of how a parent would risk their life for the wellbeing of their child. Again we see how love casts out fear — even fear of death.
If we are going to grow in this kind of generous and self-sacrificial Covenant-love towards God we would do well to remember that this is a Covenant PRAYER. Prayer is intimate love-making with God. So before we make decisions to do this or that regarding the Covenant we could commit to making time for prayer trusting fearless action will flow out of this loving intimacy.