Day 3: Covenant, Community, Celebration, Connection, Christ
Faculty Speaker: Dr. Stephen Chapman, Associate Professor of Old Testament
Lectionary Texts: Joshua 24:1-8, 13-25; Psalm 136; I Peter 2:1-10; Matthew 26:26-29
Reflections on the Lecture
Dr. Chapman explained the process wherein the concept of “covenant”, as described by the biblical authors, was re-interpreted over time. The Bible describes various kinds of covenants and the writers wrestled with how to understand and articulate it. Ultimately, covenant is “the central expression of Israel’s distinctive faith.” In the Hebrew Bible, berit, does not mean a contract. Rather, covenant is an alliance. It is essentially about relationship. It creates community. In the New Testament this idea is carried forward in familiar but also new ways. The Lord’s Supper is a celebration of covenant, our connection to God, made possible through Christ’s sacrifice (Matthew 26:26-27).
“Notice how the implementation of the covenant creates community—you eat, and drink, and tarry.” — Dr. Stephen Chapman during plenary describing Israelite customs of forming a covenant and comparing it to the Lord’s Supper.
“What would it be like to think of animals as our fellow covenant partners with God?” — Dr. Chapman during plenary, commenting on Genesis 9.
“To minister, you have to put yourself in their world” — A student explaining her efforts to connect with the elderly at Croasdaile Village, a retirement center.
After a lively rendition of “Standing on the Promises of God” during morning prayer, we headed to plenary to hear Dr. Chapman teach on covenant. After lunch, everyone piled onto buses to head to service projects. Students had six options to choose from including Croasdaile Village (retirement center), SEEDS (non-profit educational community garden), Anathoth (community garden that fosters relationships across racial and economic barriers), Reality Ministries (outreach to at-risk youth), TROSA (residential program for recovering substance abusers), and Genesis Home (housing for homeless families). Students learned about how God is using these programs in the local community and also had an opportunity to participate in service. The day was topped off with an Episcopal style worship service complete with bells and incense led by Rev. Joe Hensley and Rev. David Umphlett.
Submitted by Karen Keen, Mentor