Day 3: Covenant
At a Glance
Dr. Kate Bowler, Assistant Professor of the History of Christianity in the United States
Joshua 24:1-8, 13-25; Psalm 136; 1 Peter 2:1-10; Matthew 26:26-29
Reflections on the Lecture
Dr. Kate Bowler introduced us to the idea of covenant – “a commitment that signifies a reliable bond between people.” Although the idea of covenant is new to some of us, she reminded us that we are all part of a covenant with God through our baptisms. Looking at the Old Testament, we discussed the covenants made with Noah, Abraham, and Moses. Eventually we arrived at the covenant of baptism, finding refreshment once again in the baptismal waters.
Whatever the tenor or specifics of these covenants, we were reminded of the miracle that God has chosen to be bound to us. Through Christ we are fettered to God in a bond that is not onerous but is full of grace. If we lose sight of God’s true character the bond can feel like it is tied to an anchor pulling us down. But if we truly remember the gracious God who is linked to us, we can find comfort in the unfailing promise of the covenant. We can celebrate and live in the reality that we are inextricably linked to a God who chose to be covenanted with us.
“In Christ, God offers us a covenant that does not rely on our ability to fulfill all the rules.’” — Dr. Kate Bowler in morning plenary
“By some miracle, God decided to be tied to you.” — Dr. Kate Bowler on covenants
“‘Every time it rains you do not have to build an ark.’ Wouldn’t that be the best sermon title ever? .” — Dr. Kate Bowler on the grace of the new covenant in Christ
“I like this. It helps me feel close to creation..” — Student while weeding asparagus rows at Anathoth Community Garden in Efland, N.C.
Today marked our final worship workshop with Dr. Fred Edie as students prepare to lead worship services in week two of DYA. In the afternoon, we traveled to several local, non-profit organizations for service projects including the Durham Rescue Mission, Triangle Residential Options for Substance Abusers (TROSA), Durham Crisis Response Center, and the Anathoth Community Garden in Efland, N.C., as well as to Croasdaile Retirement Village. After a refreshing afternoon downpour, we returned to the Duke campus to celebrate a traditional worship service led by the Rev. Dr. Jo Bailey Wells, a faculty member at Duke Divinity School and Anglican priest.
Tomorrow Dr. Warren Smith, a professor of historical theology at Duke Divinity, will lead us in discussion about Christ’s incarnation. In the afternoon, we’ll participate in our second Arts Village session before being led in worship by the Duke Divinity School Dean Dr. Richard B. Hays, and our own ministry coordinator for Christian practices, the Rev. Andrew Thompson.