We attended Watchnight Service this evening, and I am going to echo the same words I posted last year about the service -- that it was "special. The worship was amazing, the exhortation moving, the fellowship warm and to the heart ... connecting often with the numerous greetings and sharing of the peace of God. It was a lovely close to the year and a wonderful opening into the new year. We renewed our covenant together, we partook in the Holy Communion together and we supped in the first meal of the new year together."
But what was different this year was that I experienced a new sense of joy and contentment in the Lord. If the year 2008 was a year of frustrations and anxiety, I will pray that year 2009 will be a year of joy in the Lord, for the joy of the Lord is my strength (Nehemiah 8:10) ... and I will add that to the theme I have set several days ago, "Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness" (Joshua 24:14a). It will be a year of faithful and joyful serving. Lord, I ask for your help and guidance to make it so. Amen.
Here is the covenant we made with the Lord this day. I have recited it in the corporate body of the church, and I have recited it again to myself during silent prayer. Here I put it in writing and that with a sense of foreboding as I begin to see the words of great weight. I will need to reread and revise it daily in the coming week and every now and then in the months to come. It is not something to be said and be done with. These are not easy or idle words.
Minister: Commit yourselves to Christ as his servants.
Give yourselves to him, that you may belong to him, Christ has many services to be done.
Some are more easy and honorable, others are more difficult and disgraceful.
Some are suitable to our inclinations and interests, others are contrary to both.
In some we may please Christ and please ourselves.
But then there are other works where we cannot please Christ except by denying ourselves.
It is necessary, therefore, that we consider what it means to be a servant of Christ.
Let us, therefore, go to Christ, and pray:
People: Let me be your servant, under your command.
I will no longer be my own.
I will give up myself to your will in all things.
Lord, make me what you will.
I put myself fully into your hands:
put me to doing, put me to suffering,
let me be employed for you, or laid aside for you,
let me be full, let me be empty,
let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and with a willing heart give it all to your pleasure and disposal.
I do here covenant with you, O Christ, to take my lot with you as it may fall.
Through your grace I promise that neither life nor death shall part me from you.
I make this covenant with you, O God, without guile or reservation.
If any falsehood should be in it, guide me and help me set it aright.
Mighty God, let this covenant I have made on earth be ratified in heaven.
In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.
God help me, Amen.