Create a Covenant

ACCOUNTABILITY/CONSISTENCY
Promise (or ‘covenant1’) to pursue this practice for at least the weeks of Lent. Developing any new habit or daily norm takes consistent, persistent intentionality for at least 40 days. Research says at least 60+, depending upon the practice and the practitioner - so let the 40 days of Lent be a starting point. Agree to hold one another accountable: that means the youngest and the oldest have equal weight in gathering the family together for a nightly practice. And, no one is at fault if everyone forgets or neglects.
This part of the covenant is intended to empower and energize while it removes shame or guilt if a night or two are missed.

MUTUAL RESPECT
Covenant to respect one another’s practice and experience. There is no right or wrong way to do any of this. In fact, learning to let go of our need to control and limit ourselves with the labels of “right” and “wrong” is a significant part of the practice (see “Thursday after Ash Wednesday”).
Respecting one another’s practice does not mean, however, that everyone can do whatever they please during this time: the intent is to practice this particular thing with one another. Every family should define for themselves what respect will look and feel like. Ideas include: being ready to begin when it is time to begin; allowing each person the space and quiet they need to practice (i.e., no extra noise-making or unnecessary movements); listening carefully and without judgment as people reflect on their experience; etc.
Respect allows each person to engage in their own practice while enjoying the privilege of practicing within an affirming and supportive family group.

ELECTRONIC DEVICES
Covenant with one another to turn off all devices and leave them outside of the gathering space. This is a time for the family to be present with God and one another.
However, video-conferencing in a person not able to be physically present could be a great way to maintain that relationship. Be sure that all tech involved with this process is fully functional and easily accessible so it is not a distraction or creates undue stress for leaders.
Our hope is that you are able to print these blogs so that leadership can be shared and the glow of a screen or unwanted blips and chirps are not distractions. However, if a device is needed in order to follow the practice, please let this be an open part of the covenantal conversation. And, every effort to subdue its presence with regard to light and sound, should be made.
Otherwise, all devices should be off and away before devotional time begins.
This practice helps signify that this time is different from the rest of the day.

1.  A “covenant” is a ritual contract in which both parties are equals and equally responsible for upholding certain behaviors. In this case, every individual is in a covenantal relationship with the family, as a whole, to keep electronic devices absent from devotion time.

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