Day 3: Covenant

Day 3: Covenant

Printer-friendly version
Today we heard from Kate Bowler, a PhD candidate and future faculty member of Duke Divinity School.

At a Glance



Faculty Speaker:

Kate Bowler

Lectionary Texts:

Joshua 24:1-8.13-25; Ps 136; 1 Pet 2:1-10; Matt. 26:26-29

Reflections on the Lecture

Today we heard from Kate Bowler, a PhD candidate and future faculty member of Duke Divinity School.  In her lecture, Kate navigated the students through God’s three major Old Testament covenants with Noah, Abraham, and Moses.  Kate encouraged the students to reflect on how these three covenants — covenants made thousands of years ago with a strange people in a far away land — were connected to their own baptisms.  The students noted that baptism is a symbol of covenant, a symbol of our being bound (or "fettered," as the Hebrew word for Covenant, Berith, suggests) to Christ in his death and resurrection. Though we ended the lecture considering the tension between God and humanity’s covenantal responsibility within different Christian traditions, Kate explained how the baptismal covenant is an everlasting one, always anchored in God’s forgiveness and grace.


“In covenant, it is as if we're tied to a 2,000 pound giant.  That giant can be a rock that anchors us when the winds and oceans howl.  Or that giant can be an anchor that drowns us in the depths of the deep.  The question is, Christian, who are you tied to?”
— Kate Bowler, lecturing on the implications of being bound in covenant

“It’s kinda like a life-time warranty on all covenants.”
— DYA student considering the concept of covenant in Psalm 40

“Perizzites... are those like parasites?”
— DYA student in mentor reflection group, after reading about the covenantal “river of blood” in Genesis 15

“In Christ, God decided to tie God’s self with you.  There is nowhere for you to fly so far that God cannot find you and hold you close.  Where you go, God goes."
— Kate Bowler, regarding the new covenant in Christ, as well as anticipating tomorrow’s theme of incarnation

Other Activities

Today was our first day of leaving campus to visit service sites around Durham.  Students traveled to the Durham Rescue Mission, the Crisis Response Center, Triangle Residential Options for Substance Abusers (TROSA), Croasdaile Village Retirement Community, and Anathoth Community Garden to assist with projects and hear the stories of members of our local community.  In worship we welcomed the Rev. Jenny Copeland, UMC chaplain at Duke University, as our preacher, and the Rev. Bill Lamar, a Managing Director of Leadership Education at Duke Divinity, as our presider at table.   The service included a ceremony of Covenant Renewal as we remembered God’s faithfulness to us despite the ways we’ve broken our covenant with God.

Looking Ahead

Tomorrow morning we turn our eyes toward the topic of incarnation as we welcome Dr. J. Kameron Carter in plenary. Concepts of incarnation will become more visible to us as we enter into our second arts village session this afternoon and create art with our hands and bodies. In the evening, Rev. Andrew Rowell from St. Peter’s Anglican Church in Tallahassee, FL will lead worship.