Creeds

An Affirmation of Faith (St. John’s-Grace Episcopal Church, May 2005)

We are a community of faith. We share a vision of God: a God whose spirit is love, accessible to all yet beyond our knowing, the source of all being, the way leading to wholeness, the spirit which pervades everything. We search for the meaning of God and our own experience revealed in those sacred stories which have been passed down to us. We tell them again and again: Of God the Creator, the Almighty, who made everything that is, and saw that it was good. Of Jesus of Nazareth, who in history lived among us, healed the afflicted, taught, suffered and died. Jesus forgave those who crucified him. In the mystery of the resurrection Jesus continues to live more profoundly through the ages, the Incarnation of Love, the Christ, to whom his disciples have responded “My Lord and my God!” Christ shows us the Way, which leads to the reconciliation of all things, saying:  “Whatever you do for the least of these, you do for me.” It is the Way of love, compassion, justice, forgiveness and peace. Of the Spirit, the Breath, the Wind of God, the Giver of Life, the Holy Wisdom, who inspires the people of God to cry out for justice for the powerless and oppressed, to see the presence of God in every created thing, and to respond with love. Of the communion of saints: all the people of God, living, dead and yet to be born, who are empowered to recognize that they are, and always have been, brothers and sisters, one family in God. We are reborn in the Spirit, followers of that Way shown by Jesus: to love God with our whole being; to love our neighbors as ourselves; to treat others as we would have them treat us; to strive for justice and peace; to have respect and compassion for every person  and for the whole of creation; to forgive those who do us harm; to love one another as Christ has loved us. We journey together on this Way towards reconciliation with the whole creation. We break bread together and pray together. We reach out to one another for strength beyond our own. This is our community. This is our faith.

Liturgy Out of the Box Katherine Hawker 2007

Respecting divine mystery beyond our human knowing revealed but not contained in the stories of our faith we strive to walk humbly with God. Celebrating the fullness of Jesus’ witness flowing from the baptismal waters at the river Jordan and the stories of bread broken and shared, we confess the God made known in the one we call Christ. Believing Jesus about God and trusting his example, we accept the cost and joy of following Christ; welcoming the unwelcome-able, speaking the unspeakable, touching the untouchable, and suffering the insufferable. Honouring the Spirit revealed in the scriptures, we live the questions of our faith, open to the continuing revelation of our still speaking God. Discerning strength in vulnerability, we acknowledge our interdependence and mutual accountability with all of creation. Claiming God’s grace abundant in our common life, we covenant together to cherish inquiry, embrace diversity, and honor vulnerability.

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Affirmation of Faith                     Smiles

 

We believe in God, who made the world, loves it and smiles upon it.

We believe in Jesus Christ who has shown us the human face of God, and a love that refused to be limited, who calls us to a life that even death cannot end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit through whom God reaches us, surprising, prompting and questioning us; who is the life-breath of creation, and the source of nurture, humour & hope.

We believe in ourselves, as people made in the likeness of God, capable of great creativity and great destruction but called to choose between them.

We believe in salvation through Christ; salvation from all that would degrade or destroy; salvation won when Christ, having succumbed to the powers of death, burst free again, forever ensuring that tragedy could not entomb love and hope.

We believe that Christ leads us now, calling us to a life that is absurd by the standards of the world; calling us to resist evil and to create and protect love, justice, freedom and peace.

We believe in God’s mysterious presence; with us in church and home, with us in bread and wine and water, with us in hugs and handshakes; yet always beyond our comprehension and appearing foolish to the world. And we believe that the foolishness of God is wiser than the wisdom of the world: and we rejoice that God has made it so.  Amen.


Affirmation of Faith: Justice

 

We believe it is a matter of faith to stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves.

We believe it is a matter of faith to recognize equally and love all members of God’s human family whatever their race, creed, color, gender, sexual orientation, marital status,  physical or mental capacity.

We believe God’s creation is good, beautiful, sacred and therefore to condemn any portion of God’s creation is to condemn a portion of God.  This is sin.

We believe Jesus Christ came to us to free all people from sin and to make disciples–people willing to live Christ’s discipline of love and justice for all.

We believe the Holy Spirit is that power within us that gives us courage and stamina to face the truth and to live it, even to die for it, as Jesus died.

We believe in the resurrection, the victory over death, the truth that is life for all in Jesus’ name.

Glory be to God, the One in Three:  Creator, Saviour, and Holy Power of Love.  Amen.

 

The New Creed:  United Church of Canada

 

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.

 

Affirmation of Faith: Creation

 

We believe in God, the Creator, who moved upon the face of the deep at the beginning of  creation, who created all that is, and who spoke through the prophets of old.

We believe in Jesus Christ, into whom God’s Spirit was poured in fullness and in power, that the whole creation might be restored and unified; and who promised that the Spirit would come and fill the faithful with power to witness to the mighty love of God.

We wait on that Spirit today with longing hearts, seeking to be empowered to witness to God’s love and hope.  Glory be to God — Creator, Christ, and Spirit, One–now and always.  Amen.

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LOVE Story: Keep Watch! LOVE has many disguises!

When I was a young woman, I lived in an apartment, in a very rough neighbourhood. Many of the people who lived in this neighbourhood survived on government assistance, while others earned their living any way they could. I moved into the apartment because the rent was cheap and quite frankly, I was young and foolish. Despite all the warnings my family and friends were all too willing to issue against, what they saw as the unsavoury characters who inhabited the neighbourhood, I was convinced that I would be able to handle anything which came my way.

The office where I worked was just down the street from my apartment and every morning as I walked to work, I would meet some of my neighbours returning from an evening of plying their trade on the streets and in the alleys. Each morning, I would be met at the entrance to my office by an old man named Ed. Ed was a wild character. He’d had been living on the streets for years. He was extremely hairy, very dirty, and he tended to rant and shout a great deal. I suspect that Ed slept on the doorstep of the building which housed my office because it was somewhat protected from the winter weather. 

Even though Ed made the me nervous, I eventually got used to seeing him. Ed always gave me a warm welcome when I arrived at my office. He knew that when I got inside, I would brew a fresh cup of coffee. He used to tease me that I was a sucker for a sad face, as he waited patiently for me to bring him a cup of coffee. We never talked much, though, at least not about anything personal. Ed would just rant and rave about the injustices of the world.  I never did find out how Ed ended up on the streets. Nor did I ever know how he spent his days.

As Christmas approached, I became very busy with my elaborate preparations for the holiday. This was the first year that I had earned enough, so that I actually had more money than I needed to celebrate. So, I decorated my apartment lavishly, I bought all sorts of gifts and I spent hours wrapping each one of them. That year, I was determined that this was the year I wasn’t going to be rushed. I wasn’t going to miss out on anything. Christmas wasn’t going to come and go without finding the Christmas SPIRIT.

That year, I had drawn the short straw and I had to work on Christmas Eve. So, before I left her apartment, I wrapped up a small package of goodies for Ed. I was delighted that I was so well prepared that I could take time out for others. But when I got to the office, Ed was nowhere in sight. I asked some of the women who worked the streets if they had seen old Ed.  But no one knew where he was. I got busy with work and I soon forgot all about old Ed. 

I finished work early and went off to celebrate Christmas Eve with my friends. I had been looking forward to Christmas for weeks and was eager to begin the celebrations. And sure enough, together, my friends and I, we shared a fine Christmas goose with all the trimmings and then together, we all went off to church for a worship service by candlelight. The service was beautiful. They really pulled out all the stops. There was great music, the choir was wonderful, and there was lots of activity. The preacher even managed to keep her sermon brief. But somehow, I was left feeling like there was something missing. The next morning, I celebrated with my family. My little nieces eagerly unpacked dozens of presents and on the whole we all managed to set aside all our longstanding family grievances long enough to get along for a day. But something wasn’t quite right. I felt detached, like I was just going through the motions. Despite all the elaborate trimmings, I felt like I had missed out on my share of the Christmas SPIRIT. On Boxing Day, as I drove back to my apartment in the city, I found myself wondering if this was all there was to it. Christmas had come and gone, and I didn’t feel like anything had changed at all. 

By the time I had parked my car, I was feeling a little depressed. I had those post-Christmas blues. Christmas was over and nothing much had changed. When I got to the entrance of my apartment, I saw Ed standing there. I had never before seen him anywhere near my apartment before and it made me more than a little nervous. I wondered how he had found out where I lived. It frightened me to think that Ed had taken the trouble to find my apartment. What’s more, he looked very agitated. Nervously, I greeted Ed and asked him why he was at my doorstep. Ed explained to me that he needed my help. Well, this made every uneasy. I mean the odd cup of coffee at work was one thing, but this old man showing up on my doorstep was something altogether different. Clearly, he wanted something. 

Ed asked me if I would come with him to the park and I was kind of caught off guard, I reluctantly agreed. When we arrived in the park, Ed introduced me to Karen. Karen was a very scared looking teenager. She couldn’t have been more than about fourteen years old. Ed explained to me that Karen had run away from home on Christmas Eve. He said that lots of kids ended up on the streets at this time of year and there were usually lots of unsavoury characters to meet them when they arrived in the big city. When Karen arrived at the city bus depot, Ed had spotted her. From the moment she arrived, Ed had carefully watched over Karen, making sure that she came to no harm in the city. Karen’s two days on the streets and Ed’s gentle persuasion had convinced her that she should really go back home to try to work things out with her parents. Ed explained to me that Karen needed money for a bus ticket back home.

After we had called Karen’s parents and safely loaded her onto a bus, I asked Ed if he would come with and to share a meal. Ed refused the offer of a meal but agreed to share a cup of coffee with me. In the coffee shop, I took a long hard look at old Ed. That night in the coffee shop, I looked into the eyes of a wild man. I didn’t know it then, but I know it now, in his own way, Ed had helped me to prepare the way for LOVE to be born. Ed was the prophet, a modern-day John the Baptist, crying in the wilderness, who pointed to the CHRIST, the LOVE which lives in all of us. 

I had almost missed it.  CHRIST had come. I was so busy looking up to the heavens, that I forgot to look around me. CHRIST came to me in the guise of Karen and LOVE was born. “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.”  CHRIST, like LOVE, comes to us, again and again, and again, each and every day, in the most unlikely of places wearing the most unlikely of faces. Just as Advent moves us toward the remembrance of the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, in the first century, we would do well to remember that most of the world was too preoccupied and utterly unprepared for that first Advent and so very many people missed the whole thing. The question is:  Will we miss the whole thing again?” For we do not know the day or hour, no one knows. Therefore, keep awake, for CHRIST, like LOVE, may come suddenly and find you asleep.  Be prepared. Keep awake! Watch for we know not when CHRIST or where LOVE will come. Keep watch, so that whenever and wherever the LOVE which we call, “God” comes, it may find a home in you. Prepare the way for LOVE to arrive.

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