Saturday 24 January 2009

Covenant or Contract?

chief rabbi Lovely piece in The Times today by Jonathan Sacks, Chief Rabbi. It is all about President Obama, and the fact that he understands the difference between a covenant and a contract.

Dr Sacks says "There is a fundamental difference between contracts and covenants. In a contract, two or more individuals, each pursuing their own interest, come together to make an exchange for mutual benefit. When we pay someone to do something for us, implicitly or explicitly we make a contract.

A covenant is something different. In a covenant, two or more individuals, each respecting the dignity and integrity of the other, come together in a bond of mutual responsibility to do together what neither can achieve alone. It is not about interests but about loyalty, fidelity, holding together when events seem to be driving you apart. A covenant is less like a deal than like a marriage: it is a moral bond. "

Two thoughts come to mind....

  1. so many people these days regard marriage as a contract [and therefore easy to break, and get out of, when things don't suit them] but marriage is a covenant relationship
  2. I am so glad that God has made a covenant and not a contract with us - and that He is eternally faithful, even when we are weak and sinful. And that at Calvary, the Old Covenant with Abraham has been superceded by a New Covenant of Salvation through Christ.

        I have a lot of respect for the Chief Rabbi, he is a good man, a man of faith [and close friend of my friend David Coffey!] and I believe that at this time it is very important that we pray for him, as the Jewish community looks to him for words of wisdom. Whilst the BBC argues about publicising the DEC advert, I quote from Dr Sacks' website

        "The time has come in Britain for the supporters of Israel and the supporters of the Palestinians to work together, to bring aid to the injured on both sides, comfort to the bereaved of both sides, and passionate commitment to the peaceful coexistence of both sides. These past three weeks, we have all shed tears. Now let us work together for a future that is not yet another replay of the past. Let us hear the cries and fears of both sides and let us work together for a future without tears."

        Psalm 122 reminds us

        Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: "May those who love you be secure. May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels. For the sake of my brothers and friends, I will say, "Peace be within you." For the sake of the house of the LORD our God, I will seek your prosperity.

        As the song says "Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me"

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