2002-02-27 - Merry Covenant
Nehemiah 9:38 Now because of all this, we are making an agreement in writing. And on the sealed document are the names of our leaders, our Levites, and our priests.
I'm not a huge holiday fan. I figure I get 52 holidays a year, which are all spread out nicely throughout the year, one each week, Lord's Day. That is quite enough for me. Don't get me wron;, holidays are a great excuse to spend time with family and let the company pay you for it. I'll take that, but if I could pick my holiday, and name just one that I would have, it would be February 28. That's not my birthday. It is the day the National Covenant of Scotland was signed in 1638. That would be my holiday.
You might think that is strange. It is. You might think I'm strange. We don't need to go there. The signing of the National Covenant in Scotland on February 28, 1638, at Greyfriars' Church, Edinburgh, is one of the great moments in church history. It was a national document of profession to faithfulness to Christ. What happened at Greyfriars' church is simply amazing.
They met at two in the afternoon of February 28 at the church. It is not a large church, so most had to stand outside while the proceedings went on inside. Over 60,000 people came to a church that probably couldn't fit 250 people. So the dignitaries, nobles, ministers and others thus assembled in the church signed their pledge of faithfulness to the Lord on a sheepskin measuring about 2 feet by 4 feet. Then the sheepskin was taken outside the church, and into the night the people gathered, signed their pledge of faithfulness to the Lord with their names, initials, or some even made their print in their own blood. When room for writing ran out on the front, they signed it on the back. Twelve other sheepskins were then spread throughout the nation, with the same pledge of faithfulness to the Lord and filled with the names, initials, and blood prints of the people.
One account by James King Hewison, in his two-volume set, "The Covenanters" records the scene at Greyfriars' church as follows, in Volume 1, page 269 of his classic work:
"Torches and other lights had to be used, when the earnest men, women, and children stood lifting up suppliant votive hands to Heaven while the Covenant was being read, before it was laid upon a flat table-stone to be signed. Here we have a picture unique in Scots history -- veritably 'The Night Watch' for any painter -- as we see manly cheeks glistering with tears, others stern yet radiant with joy; anon a blood-stained hand rises, and shows ruddier in that umber light, for some signed with their blood, and one enthusiast also appended to his signature the words, 'till daith;' while the ruder masses were content to permit initials, crosses, marks, and blots to indicate the unity of their vows."
Thus February 28th would be my holiday. Could you imagine almost everyone in your town gathering outside a church, to sign a document pledging faithfulness to Christ? It is not likely to happen, but can you even picture it? I'm not the crying type, but that might bring tears to my cheeks also. We can, however, pledge ourselves to faithfulness to Christ now. We don't need the fanfare of a Covenant-signing at a church. We can write out our own covenant. One minister, Philip Henry, had each of his children write out their personal covenant at age five. From time to time, as they grew up, he would review it with them and ask them to try to improve upon what they had written. As the children grew, they each established a personal commitment of faithfulness to the Lord that they owned for themselves. There is no reason why any one of us can't do the same, and over time develop a deeper and deeper personal covenant with Jesus Christ.
So this Thursday, February 28th, I wish you Merry Covenant.
Soli Deo Gloria,