Digesting news out of England that as dioceses vote for or against the Covenant the tally is heading the way of 'No Covenant.' Remember: the view espoused here is that if the C of E does not sign up to the Covenant then it is dead as dodo. So, let's imagine the Covenant is history. What would be the review of the journey to non-existence?
At the heart of the Covenant is a theology known as 'communion ecclesiology': an understanding of the church and the life of local churches in relation to the universal church in which 'communion' is foundational to our understanding of 'church': included in this foundation (I suggest) are ideas such as the eucharist makes the church; the church is the faithful gathered in eucharistic communion with their bishop; the unity of the church is a unity in communion, all gather to share in fellowship around the Lord's Table (i.e. not simply unified by agreeing to a statement of faith); unity of churches is the communion of churches (our unity is not complete when we are not in communion with each other; when we are in communion with each other our unity in Christ is complete); in particular, the Anglican Communion as a fellowship of churches around the world is a church in formation because 'church' is 'communion' so as the 'Communion' deepens its 'communion' it is becoming a church (notwithstanding many who do not want it to be so). You may wish to expand these elements of communion ecclesiology.
In this way of thinking there is everything to like about the Covenant, and nothing unAnglican (and nothing unCommunion) about it.
But the Covenant has had a bad press and a bad run towards failing to be adopted around the world. It has incurred the criticism of those whose ecclesiology is governed by gay sexuality (whether keen to embrace it or keen to exclude it) because it is feared to have too many or too little teeth. (What a richly ironic coalition against the Covenant has grown because of this particular ecclesiology). It has incurred criticism by those whose ecclesiology is not governed by gay sexuality but by other things, such as notions of what "Anglican" means, or what a "Communion" should not have (e.g. no pope, no curia, no magisterium). Etc.
So the promotion of the Covenant has suffered by saying too little about communion ecclesiology and thus allowing too much to be made of its origins in the Windsor Report. Those who have (such as here) tried to promote the Covenant as something timely and necessary for the whole of Anglican Communion life as it develops rapidly away from its Church of England origins in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries have not done a good enough job. Apologies!
But then a future review about the failure of the Covenant to establish itself in 2012 might consider another explanation: we are locked in spiritual combat in which Satan has got the upper hand on this matter by stuffing up the Covenant for us. Our gospel reading today, Mark 8:31-38 reminds us that even Peter could be right and badly wrong at the same time, the latter earning the rebuke, 'Satan.'
Here is the thing: communion ecclesiology is true and noble. Its Anglican time will come.