Lent is a special time set aside in The Church’s liturgy for us to reflect, purify and grow in faith. All our Lenten practices help us to achieve these goals. However, the practice often left out, is growth in faith knowledge, that will eventually help us to enter more fully into the mysterious life of the Church and in so doing grow closer to God.
Promises of God focusses on the love of God revealed throughout time in His covenant relationship with His people. Catholics complain about not knowing enough about the Bible. This publication studies the scripture, especially the Old Testament, in detail. The Church is the New Israel and so we must understand the faith history of who we are. The Church is the functional relationship with the New and Everlasting covenant. To appreciate this New and Everlasting covenant, Jesus Christ, we must know and appreciate all the previous covenants between God and His people.
The first Covenant
The first covenant was made with Adam and Eve in Eden (Eden means with God). The breaking of this covenant by Adam and Eve led to the human being’s separation from God, neighbour, himself and creation. Notice these are the very things we are trying to reconcile through the Synod process. The programme, Promises of God, explores this covenant in detail. It reinforces that we are created in the image and likeness of God and that we are the stewards of creation. It also highlights the covenant relationship of marriage and that of husband and wife together reflecting the image of God and the covenantal relationship between Christ and the Church.
It helps each of us to enter into a deep life with Jesus and with each other. These social justice themes, fundamental to our Christian journey, help us to reflect on who we are, where we are and what we can do with God’s help to return to that Eden experience of being one with God, each other, ourselves and creation.
The second Covenant
The second covenant was made with Noah. Here the focus is on our Triune God and the importance of family to God. Family relationships and the significance of the family’s function in helping the human person achieve the fullness of being, that is, growing in love, is the focus of these units of the Promises of God. This is done by exploring the family unit and looking at the various biblical characters who experienced family positively and negatively such as Joseph and Ruth. These characters reveal the growth of the virtue of faithfulness. The stories also show that God uses and transforms people through these family relationships. Joseph was sold to a slave trader by his brothers as a result of jealously. Joseph had a negative experience of family, yet he was the one who saved his brothers during the time of famine.
These units help us reflect on the family as the vital cell of society and as the domestic Church.
The third Covenant
The third Covenant was made with Abraham, our father in faith. Promises of God explores this covenant and relates it to our present life. Abraham was a man who bore no children and was now very old, too old for children. The God of the impossible made a covenant with him telling him that his descendants would be as great as the stars of heaven. His wife Sarah, in her old age bore him a son Issac. God also tested his faith by asking him to sacrifice his son which he was willing to do. He must have thought that God was revoking the covenant made with him. Yet he made a step in faith. He became the father of the twelve tribes of Israel. Jesus also chose 12 disciples to represent the new Israel and to build His Church upon earth. This helps us to appreciate our faith journey in present day.
The fourth Covenant
The forth Covenant was made with Moses the liberator. The story of Moses and his function as Liberator of the Israelites are done in several units in the Promises of God. The Jewish Passover and the Ten Commandments are also covered in detail in the programme. These units help us to appreciate the Eucharist as an act of honouring our covenant relationship with Jesus, the New and Everlasting covenant. It also helps us to appreciate our Judeo-Christian rituals, that we are God’s people and he desires us. The richness of our oral tradition is explored and we begin to enter into a mystery of faith in a tangible way.
The fifth Covenant
The fifth Covenant was made with King David, the repentant sinner. The covenant that his Kingdom will reign forever. This covenant prepares us to receive the new and everlasting covenant. Through this covenant the faithfulness of God is highlighted. God will continue to initiate a sacred relationship with us. Promises of God walks us through the Davidic journey so can be amply prepared to enter into the final covenant.
The sixth Covenant
Jesus is the sixth and final covenant that will last forever. He is the fulfilment of the fifth covenant; His kingdom will have no end. He is the chosen King who will restore Israel and bring salvation to all men Jew and Gentile, the entire world. Promises of God takes us on this journey of discovery and helps us to understand our role as Christians and the promotion of the reign of God and building His kingdom on Earth.
Mary, Queen Esther, John the Baptist and the prophets are also covered in the programme. Articles on the Old Testament Covenant and the Book of Exodus done by experts are included in the book.
This is a wonderful way to grow in faith this Lent. This book is available both at the Catechetical Office and the Liturgical Commission. Call us at 652-4446/623-5139.