MAJOR GLENYS PILGRIM / MY COVENANT
“What my Officer Covenant means to me”
I remember it well. It rained all day. The cloudy gray sky held little promise, as it opened up and washed the world that day. I sat at my desk and watched as the rain hit the window. I was held up in my little room for some of the day, a room not much bigger than a 10 X 10 gazebo that sits on my back deck. In this same room I had had many conversations with God, but this day was different.
In one sense it should have been an easy day. After all, I had already wrestled through to surrender, had already spent two years in the classroom, had already developed a love/hate relationship with community living, had served on Friday night Street ministry, Open Air ministry, Pub ministry or Work Sections. After a ton of teaching, and ministry opportunities galore, I was beckoned to ‘sign on the dotted line’, to ‘say yes’, to make a lifelong commitment.
All things being considered, I could have said I had pledged my allegiance – made a commitment – prior to coming to the Training College. However, on that day 29 years ago, I was encouraged to covenant.
For some reason, I had to think about it! I spent the whole day thinking about it, praying about it, and the rain poured. Around supper time, the rain stopped and I looked up from my desk to see a rainbow stretched across the sky. I felt a little like Noah that day, and saw the rainbow as a sign of God’s covenant with me. And my heart was His.
With ink barely dry on the paper, I headed out with my husband to our first appointment. We had just married and someone said to me before I left the College, “Oh you are going on your honeymoon!” The honeymoon was quickly over friends as we faced the challenges of ministry. I was young and a little naïve, ministry can be messy and labour intensive, and in those first couple of years I had to look again at the covenant I had made. I remember heading out one sunny morning to the wooded area behind our quarters and sitting by an old abandoned well, with a very thirsty soul. I was reminded that day of the encounter of the woman at the well with Jesus and His promise of ‘living water’. His grace was sufficient – is sufficient.
In life we are sustained by significant relationships. We covenant – with or without a signature. We covenant in marriage, we covenant in family, we covenant without reservation. Our lives are richer, finer, deeper, as a result of these bonds. It is hard for me to imagine, but I think the years of covenanting has somehow increased the value of the commitment. The longer I have served, the dearer my Covenant has become.
When God called me and I surrendered to His will, He gave me a verse of Scripture. It was a confirming verse for me and is part of my covenant. Ephesians 4:1(KJV) – “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called.” It was my desire then – it is my desire today.
It is my joy to proclaim Jesus as Saviour and Lord! Nothing thrills this introvert more than the opportunity to invite fellow travelers to the One who provides grace, peace and hope! I pledge each day to love and serve my Lord, to ensure that His gift of salvation is shared with the world, to uphold the doctrines and principles of The Salvation Army – not in my strength, but in His.
What does my Officer covenant mean to me? It is my life. As crazy as it sounds – I feel I was made for this. I borrow Brindley Boon’s words that are found in our Song Book as I conclude:
Weaver divine, thy matchless skill
Hath planned the pattern of my ways;
Within the fabric of thy will
I yield my residue of days.
I dwell in thy abiding care,
And find my soul’s refreshment there;
Content to trust my way to thee
Thy overruling plan I see.