Sunday, January 4, 2009


So a couple of days ago this excellent quote from G.K. Chesterton was waiting in my inbox, courtesy of Christian Classics Ethereal Library - an awesome site with free online access to many of the great old texts of the Christian faith.

The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul and a new nose; new feet, a new backbone, new ears, and new eyes. Unless a particular man made New Year resolutions, he would make no resolutions. Unless a man starts afresh about things, he will certainly do nothing effective. Unless a man starts on the strange assumption that he has never existed before, it is quite certain that he will never exist afterwards. Unless a man be born again, he shall by no means enter into the Kingdom of Heaven." - G.K. Chesterton

Again, like Advent, I'm loving the tradition of the Methodist church we're attending. It's not super traditional, it's pretty casual and contemporary, but there's a heritage that just isn't in nondenominational churches whose roots only reach back 20 years.

Today we talked about the Covenant Renewal service that John Wesley held every first Sunday of the new year. Within the bulletin was a bookmark quoting from Wesley's work "Directions for Renewing our Covenant with God." The short highlight was good:

"I am no longer my own, but Yours. Put me to what You will, rank me with whom You will. Put me to doing; put me to suffering. Let me be employed for You or laid aside for You, exalted for You, or brought low for You. Let me be full; let me be empty. Let me have all things; let me have nothing. I freely and heartily yield all things to Your pleasure and disposal."

But I went back and found the original 22 page document here. Having been thinking on New Year's resolutions and similar things, this stood out to me.

"And whereas I have formerly, inordinately and idolatrously let out my Affections upon the World, I do here resign my Heart to Thee that madest it; humbly protesting before thy glorious Majesty, that it is the firm resolution of my heart, and that I do unfeignedly desire grace from thee, that when thou shalt call me hereunto, I may practise this my Resolution:

- to forsake all that is dear unto me in this World, rather than turn from Thee to the ways of Sin;

- and that I will watch against all its Temptations, whether of prosperity or adversity, lest they should withdraw my heart from thee;

- beseeching thee also to help me against the temptations of Satan, to whose wicked suggestions I resolve, by the grace, never to yield.

And because my own Righteousness is but menstruous rags, I renounce all confidence therein, and acknowledge that I am of myself a hopeless, helpless, undone creature, without righteousness or strength." (formatting and emphasis mine)

There's a mouthful. I realize why they shortened the passage they chose for the bookmark, but this will give me something to chew on for a while.

"And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit - You are mine and I am Yours. So be it. And the covenant which I have made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven. Amen."

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