Dear Orchard Covenant,
Generally we review the following “Covenant of Holy Manners,” written and approved by the congregation, at the first of each year. The challenges to unity among Christians continue to be strong and numerous. I encourage you to open your bibles, read the scripture references, let God speak to your heart, and pray for unity and growth in our church ministry in 2018 as we keep doing our best to joyfully conform ourselves to the way of Jesus.
This covenant answers the question: “How will we behave (how will we live together) when we don’t understand each other and when we don’t agree?” – Gil Rendle, Behavioral Covenants in Congregations
With God’s help, we will commit ourselves to Jesus’ call for unity among His people. We will order our lives by prayer, study of scripture, and encouraging one another. We will “clothe ourselves above all in love” (Colossians 3:14), practicing confession, repentance, and forgiveness, as Christ forgave us.
These are ways we will aspire, with God’s help, to love one another as Jesus has loved us (John 13:34-35) and live in peace with one another (1 Thessalonians: 5:12-26). We will:
1. recognize that disagreements and conflict will sometimes occur in the church, even among people sincerely and prayerfully seeking God’s way. Philippians 4:2-3
be humble, gentle and patient with one another. Ephesians 4:1-6
3. look for the best in each person. 1 Thessalonians 5:12-26
4. look to the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4
5. respect our servant leaders. 1 Thessalonians 5:12-26
6. in humility, consider others better than ourselves. Philippians 2:3-4
7. not become conceited or provoke or envy each other. Galatians 5:19-26
listen to one another and be slow to speak and slow to anger.
James 1:2-4, 19
keep our tongues from evil and our lips from deceitful speech.
1 Peter 3:10-17
refrain from quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder. 2 Corinthians 12:20
11. seek reconciliation at the first opportunity. Matthew 5:23-24 forgive whatever grievances we have with one another. Colossians 3:12-17
As followers of Jesus, we believe the Bible is the Word of God and the only perfect rule for faith, doctrine and conduct.
Lent – the season before Easter – is upon us! Perhaps we should call this season “Love and Fools,” as Ash Wednesday is on February 14, Valentines’ Day, and Easter is on April 1, April Fool’s Day. Not to mix sacred and secular celebrations but… our faith about the unconditional love of God, and being, as Paul said, “Fools for Christ.”
1 John 4:7,8: Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love, does not know God, for God is love…
1 Corinthians 1:18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God!
Ash Wednesday service: February 14, 6pm