Every week, as I speak on your behalf the prayer over the bread and wine, I quote Jesus’ words that he spoke at his last meal with his followers, where he himself gave the Eucharist that name; he called it the “new covenant.” A covenant is sort of like a treaty: it’s public, and it sets into being a state of affairs that you’re situated inside. In the Bible, God initiates covenants with his people, situating them in his story of the universe, and publicly constituting them as his own.
We don’t really do covenants in Western society. We’re way more used to contracts, which are nothing more than deals people agree to. They don’t define us or constitute our life story, they just set up temporary arrangements like “If you give me $70 a month I’ll give you unlimited texts and 2gig of mobile data… but that offer expires in 30 days.” That is not what a sacred arrangement that situates you in the universe sounds like. That’s just a contract.