Here in Cape Town, I attend a Methodist Church. I started at the church, attending Sunday School, in 1981: so I have been going now to the same church for 30 years! When people ask, I always say that I am a Christ-follower who happens to attend a Methodist Church: not really a "Methodist". I have never really known what being a Methodist was all about, but one of the things that I enjoy about Methodism is that once a year (since 1755 when John Wesley instituted it) we pray through the "Covenant Prayer" as a way to dedicate or re-dedicate ourselves to God.
The prayer is simple, but powerful, and each year I have a renewed sense of how awesome it is to be a Christian who happens to go to a Methodist church. Here is the prayer (updated from John Wesley's time a little bit):
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 by you or laid aside by you,
enabled for you or brought low by 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.
Wow, powerful stuff. And I thank God that even as I am praying it, I am fully aware that I do not have the power within to be able to fulfil the prayer - it is only as God works in me and gives me the strength and grace that I am able to give myself over to God in this way.
I had an awesome illustration of this this morning. I was sitting out by the pool reading my bible. It is so great to be able to do that while I am at my folks' place that I am taking advantage of it as much as I can! I noticed that the leaf cleaner sunction thingie was working, which meant that the pool pump was working. However, the automatic pool cleaner wasn't going at all. I knew this meant that it had come loose from the pool pump, so I got up and attached it again and off it went cleaning away. And it just struck me that is how it is often with God: we come loose from His awesome power (usually through something we do!) and are unable to function the way that He has designed and purposed for us to function. We need to stay connected to the power in order to produce the fruit that He has for us...
And that is something that the Covenant service reminds us every year: to whom we are attached. To whom we are connected. And as we dedicate our lives again to staying connected, He will come through and give us all the power we need in our lives to carry out His purpose in them.