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Sunday, July 5, 2009

The fifth page for July 5, 2009- the continuing voyage...

The fifth page for July 5, 2009- the continuing voyage...

You can read the text of my sermon (once it is posted) on the church's website:

In my sermon /teaching time on Sunday morning I mentioned that in its 84 years, the United Church of Canada has occasionally expressed its faith in contemporary terms. The first effort it made in this direction can be found in the “Basis of Union”, prepared by representatives of the three founding denominational groups that came together in 1925. To this day, candidates for ordained or commissioned ministry are asked if they are in “essential agreeement” with the doctrine found in this document. Here is a link to the Basis of Union:

Here is the part about God:

2.1 Article I. Of God.
We believe in the one only living and true God, a Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in His being and perfections; the Lord Almighty, who is love, most just in all His ways, most glorious in holiness, unsearchable in wisdom, plenteous in mercy, full of compassion, and abundant in goodness and truth. We worship Him in the unity of the Godhead and the mystery of the Holy Trinity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, three persons of the same substance, equal in power and glory.

In 1968, the United Church offered “A New Creed”, which very quickly became a part of worship services in congregations across the country. The creed was revised a few years ago, when the line “to live with respect in creation” was added:

We are not alone,
we live in God's world.

We believe in God:
who has created and is creating,
who has come in Jesus,
the Word made flesh,
to reconcile and make new,
who works in us and others
by the Spirit.

We trust in God.

We are called to be the Church:
to celebrate God's presence,
to live with respect in Creation,
to love and serve others,
to seek justice and resist evil,
to proclaim Jesus, crucified and risen,
our judge and our hope.
In life, in death, in life beyond death,
God is with us.
We are not alone.

Thanks be to God.

Every time I read or hear the “new creed” I remember a remark made by a friend who grew up in the United Church, but left as a young adult to become an Anglican. He is now an Anglican priest in Manitoba. He told me that he thought our creed sounded like the mission statement of the USS Enterprise, as spoken by the captain at the beginning of every episode of Star Trek:

Space... the Final Frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its continuing mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no one has gone before.

My Anglican friend meant this to be a disparaging comment, but I decided I liked the connection. It suggests to me that our United Church, like the crew of the USS Enterprise, has remained open to the mystery and adventure of the unknown.