Day 3 - Bound Together in Love (Covenant)
Dr. Catherine Bowler, Assistant Professor of Christian History
Joshua 24:1-8, 13-25; Psalm 136; 1 Peter 2: 1-10; Matthew 26:26-29
Quotes from the Last 24 Hours
"You know the song, 'They Will Know We are Christians by our Love?' The Prosperity Gospel hinges on a different picture of promise--'They Will Know We Our Christians by our Abundant, Charmed Lives'" - Dr. Bowler
"In Scripture we see God giving people a system of mutual obligation... in doing so, God puts a specific claim on them--that God will be their God and that they will be God's people." - Dr. Bowler during plenary
"Jesus knew that we are real people, not airbrushed little puppets." - Rev. Ann Bonner-Stewart, during evening worship sermon
Gardening is awesome. It's like its both a physical thing and a spiritual thing, all at the same time." - a student reflecting on their experiences at Anatoth community garden
Reflections on the Lecture
In our plenary this morning, Dr. Bowler addressed covenants--the kind of promises that ground our lives, especially those promises about who God is and who we are to be in response. Dr. Bowler gave us a glimpse into her research, and talked about the vision of covenant in 'the prosperity Gospel,' using some examples to take us to the text and ask the question: "what promises does God make?" Dr. Bowler explored with us three characteristics of covenants: 1) that they signify a commitment that establishes a reliable bond between people, 2) that they indicate who is in charge, and 3) that they typically list agreements, conditions, and consequences. With these characteristics in mind, we went on to look at which of these features were present and how they were manifested in Scripture, examining the Noahic, Abrahamic, and Mosaic covenants. We then looked at the baptismal covenant, examining what it means for us to be in covenant with God today.
Today was a very busy day in our DYA community, hence the tardiness of this post! Today we went out into different places in the community to serve. Some of us went to TROSA (Triangle Residential Options for Substance Abusers) to help wash cars and to hear people's stories, others went to Seeds, to get a glimpse of urban community gardening, and still others went to a handful of other places. I spent my afternoon with a group of students and a handful of other staff at Anatoth Community Garden out in Cedar Grove, where we learned about how this garden has fostered reconciliation in their community, and about sustanability and creation care. And, we got dirty. We pulled some weeds and turned over some compost piles, and in our serving, drew closer to God and God's earth, and to one another--great conversations were had over shoveling and weeding! In the evening, Ann Bonner-Stewart, the Episcopal chaplain at Saint Mary's school in Raleigh, and David Umphlett, a priest from High Point, NC, led us in worship. Some of us got our first taste of a High Church worship service, experiencing God through engaging all our senses in the liturgy, and Ann spoke to us about what it means to live our lives in light of God's promises to us.