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A new church year begins, and we have a new slate of themes; different practices through which to transform ourselves and our world (recall that our congregation’s mission is to “transform our selves and our world through compassionate action”).

For September we explore “Promise: the practice of covenant making.”

Here are some questions to spark your thinking. Discuss the questions at coffee hour with a fellow congregant, at the dinner table with a friend or family, and/or journal about them on you own.

1. What kinds of promises do you make, if any, in your everyday living?

2. To what extent do you keep your promises? What challenges do you face?

3. What are the most significant promises, covenants, pledges, or vows you have made in your life?

4. If the world (or “Life”) could make you a promise, what would you want that promise to be?

5. If you were to make one promise to the world (or to “Life”), what would it be?

6. Often, being in covenanted relationship means sticking with it through the hard stuff. In what ways have you done this in your life?

7. When you have failed to live up to your own aspirations of covenantal relationship, how do you forgive yourself, and begin again in love?

8. Sometimes living up to the covenant of right relationship means seeng boundaries, re-shaping, or even ending relationship. How do you decide when/how to do this? How do you do it with respect and open- heartedness?

9. So much is broken in this world. Oppression, violence, the destruction of our earth’s resources. What societal covenant-making and covenant-repairing calls to you? How might we, as human beings, make reparations, and begin again in love? What is one small thing you can do toward that end this month?