Wednesday, March 02, 2016

From Sunday, February 28, 2016

Reading:  I Corinthians 12
Theme:  How d'ye know a church?  (or: One creed, so many ways of saying it)

In a few minutes I am going to invite you to do something – to share the particular line of the UCC Creed that really stood out for you today – that really catches you or says something special to you right now 

I’ve thought about us doing this for some time, I’ve been wondering why 

I think it has something to do with: how d’ye know a church? 

One level: we are a congregation of the United Church of Canada – we say the Creed because this is the simplest, most direct statement of the faith of the UCC – what the theologians / our tradition tell us are the core essentials of being Christian – what we are invited by the UCC’s theological teachers to claim, accept, grow into in order to be a congregation of the UCC – as we say it / live it out, we are welcomed in to the fold 

Second level:  we are Fifty United Church – we have a building and a place in the world; we are a particular community  / group of people with a history, past, story – both good and bad, both  praiseworthy and regrettable, but ours – we’re a church that people of the past and long-time members today have built up, cared for, love, now wear like a favourite shoe – that newcomers are welcomed into, to like or not, to stay or not as they fit or don’t 

Third level:  we are a community of the moment – new reality every time we gather – spiritual community new in some ways every week depending on who is here and what we bring, identifiably new for sure every few years or decade – gathering of people both long-timers and newcomers alike and equally who bring our selves, our personal stories and histories, our gifts and needs, our particular experiences of God/life/world, our particular visions of church and mission and ministry that together make us what we are now – an always-new, growing, changing church that God invites us to be part of, that God invites us to discover as we open ourselves to one another, and see what God has brought together this time – what particular form of Fifty United, what particular form of the United Church we are now at this point in our history.   

This level of who we are is something none of us own, neither long-timer nor newcomer – something only God really owns, because it’s God who brings us and all we are together at and for this moment. 

So … maybe to scratch the surface of who we are at this stage in Fifty’s ongoing, unfolding life, I invite you to share the line of the Creed really stood  out for you today?  What line or word or phrase of the Creed really catches you, brings you comfort, shapes your life, or seems especially important today? 

We’re not going to talk about it.  You don’t have to explain why you offer the line you do.   

And we’re all equal in this.  Age or theological training or length of time in this church or any other, don’t matter, because what this is, is just a way of scratching the surface of who we are as a church right now, where our heart really is, what kind of membership God has brought together now, what part of being Christian and UCC really catches the imagination of this church today. 

So … is there a line of the Creed really stands out for you?  A line or word or phrase of the Creed that really catches you, brings you comfort, shapes your life, or seems especially important today?
We are not alone,
                we live in God’s world. 
We believe in God:
                who has created and is still 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.

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