What do our children understand about covenant? About surrender? About sacrifice? What can they understand about living into who we are called to be as children of God? The Covenant Renewal Service, created by John Wesley in 1755 may seem a bit unapproachable for children. So how might we help children relate to self-examination, confession, and discipleship?
I would begin by engaging children in a conversation on what brought them the most joy in the past year (understanding that they will likely focus on what things that just happened). Ask them if there is something that they did that they might do differently next time. Talk to them about what it means to be a disciple. Read the Covenant Prayer to them, and then offer a few “I wonder” questions.
I wonder what it means to belong to God?
I wonder why it is important to sometimes be full and sometimes be empty?
I wonder what it means to have all things and to have nothing?
Expect to hear many different responses, but the goal here is to help children discern what discipleship means based on their knowledge and experiences. Their responses may help you plan future lessons on discipleship.
Covenant Prayer in the Wesleyan Tradition
I am no longer my own, but yours.
Put met to what you will, rank me with whom you will;
put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be employed by 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.
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.
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