Our communities of memory and promise are founded upon covenants because we all need a defense against the impulse of immediate feelings that challenge our best intentions. It is necessary to be reminded from time to time of what you said you were going to do, and what you really want, over and above the lure of momentary comfort.
"Covenant" is our word for the solemn promises that counteract the randomness of a future in which anything and everything is possible, by committing us in advance to certain relationships and values. We do [this] because what we build with intention, and even with difficulty, is more satisfying in the long run than the pleasures that we happen to encounter. We do it in time-consuming rituals, invoking powers that we scarcely know how to name, because we are seeking some way to give our lives the density, and dignity, and depth that we suspect, with longing, might yet be possible.