This word appears in our covenant:
"Heavenly Father, moved by your hesed and your grace..."

Hesed is a Biblical Hebrew word which means "fidelity to relationships; fidelity to the covenant; faithful love".

Psalm 23:6 "Hesed (Kindness and faithful love) pursue me every day of my life. I make my home in the house of Yahweh for all time to come. 

His Hesed makes it possible for us to covenant with Him and with each other.  Though we sin, God remains faithful to the covenant. His hesed is everlasting.     

Our covenant in Love Crucified Community is a commitment to respond to the "hesed" by living faithfully the covenant.    

In Scriptures, "hesed" refers to the kind of love that is promised and is owed. It includes an mutual exchange of affection and loyalty based on mutual obligations. -Love formed in the bonds of covenant.

When this Hebrew word is used of human relationships in means union and loyalty such as the marriage covenant. When used between men and nations, it expresses the covenant bond of a treaty obligation (Genesis 21:27; 1 Samuel 11:1).

When hesed is used to express God's interaction with men, this Hebrew word expresses God's faithfulness to his covenant and the blessings and mercy He shows His obedient covenant people, as in Exodus 34:6-7: "Then Yahweh passed before him and he called out Yahweh, Yahweh, God of tenderness and compassion, slow to anger, rich in faithful love (hesed) and constancy, my maintaining his faithful-love (hesed)...."

Another example is found in Hosea 2:21, where Yahweh, addressing Israel as His covenant bride says: "I shall betroth you to Myself forever, I shall betroth you in uprightness and justice, and faithful love (hesed) and tenderness.

Ephesians 2:3-5 "Among these we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, following the desires of body and mind, and so we were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, who is rich in mercy (HESED), out of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)."

Covenant love is the love God promised to give to His covenant people, in which they, in turn, were to respond, loving the God of the Bible with all their hearts, minds and strength.

Covenant love (hesed) is obligatory. This is not to say hesed is compelled- just as in the marriage, love cannot be forced -  but it is commanded.

It is difficult in our culture, which associates love with uncontrollable feelings, for us to understand how the Bible can command love of God and those that He has placed in covenant with us. Yet the Lord goes even further, commanding us to love beyond covenant relationships, even love to love our enemies with a sacrificial love! Matthew 5:44 "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven." This is agape love which Jesus lived and taught. In the Bible, when God's people are called upon to love,they are being asked to do respond whether they feel like it or not. 

In the Bible, the terms hesed (covenant love) and agape (love towards all, even those outside the covenant, as Christ loves), do not refer primarily to feelings but to decisions of the will. This voluntaristic notion of love is recalled in the wedding liturgy, where the bride and groom say "I do" and "i will" when they are asked to make their vows, not "I feel like it".

This does not mean that we are to marry or covenant against our will. It does mean that we must discern if God calls us to marry or to any other covenant, such as a covenant community. This we do in conscience, freely before God. If we believe that He wants us to enter a particular covenant, then we know that He is calling us to live it with committed love. We respond to God with our entire person, mind, heart and strength. We cannot create Love with our will but with it we respond to God's grace. The key is for us to unite our will to Christ on the Cross. That is why perfect love is victim love, the love that can say with St. Paul:

I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God,[a] who loved me and gave himself for me.  -Gal 2:19-20

We can see why, separated from God, marriages, communities and, eventually all of society, falls apart. We can also see why the Lord is raising covenant communities for this decisive times.

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