June 11, 2017
A Song of Faith Ann Keys
Illuminating the Light (adapted from A Song of Faith, 2006)
We sing of the Creator,
who made humans to live and move
and have their being in God.
(First Candle is lit)
We sing of the Spirit,
who speaks our prayers of deepest longing
and enfolds our concerns and confessions,
transforming us and the world.
(Second Candle is lit)
We find God made known in Jesus of Nazareth,
and so we sing of God and Christ, the Holy One embodied.
(Christ Candle is lit)
Invocation (adapted from A Song of Faith, 2006)
We offer worship
as an outpouring of gratitude and awe
and a practice of opening ourselves
to God’s still, small voice of comfort,
to God’s rushing whirlwind of challenge.
Through word, music, art, and sacrament,
in community and in solitude,
God changes our lives, our relationships, and our world.
We sing with trust.
Preparation for Scripture (adapted from A Song of Faith, 2006)
Scripture is our song for the journey, the living word
passed on from generation to generation
to guide and inspire,
that we might wrestle a holy revelation for our time and place from the human
experiences
and cultural assumptions of another era.
God calls us to be doers of the word and not hearers only.
Genesis 1.1-19, 24-27; 2.2-4a (Old Testament, pp 1-2, NRSV)
2 Corinthians 13.11-13 (New Testament, p. 186, NRSV)
This is the Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

Reflection: A Song of Faith
The people of Mark Street have been very much on my mind – those of us who are here
today, and those of us who are not. Mark St. has been on my mind, not just today, but over
the past several months, and of course, it reached a peak this week:
• in the wake of hearing the decisions of Presbytery related to the Reviews we’ve
undergone;
• faced with the prospect of ensuring someone would lead our services and offer a
sermon or reflection over the next four months; and then finally,
• in the search for meaning and words to offer as a reflection this first Sunday.
These were the thoughts that preoccupied me as I set out early Thursday morning on a class
trip with our 10-year old grandson, Tom. Tom was planning to sit with his friend as we
travelled on a bus to Toronto, and I didn’t know any of the other parents or chaperones, so I
thought, “Oh well, there’ll be a little time during the two hour bus trip to mull this over and
ask for divine intervention.”
Have you ever sat at the back of a school bus surrounded by 50 or so grade 4 and 5 students?
If so, you’ll know without my saying that it wasn’t at all conducive to hearing the still, small
voice I was waiting for. And yet, not long after we embarked, I was struck by three things.
The first was the climate on the bus – being a school bus, it was a bumpy ride of course, but
there was an overwhelming clamor as these young people shouted over one another, just
wanting their own voice to be heard.
Not long after, we passed an aggregate site – those places where the green earth has been
scraped away to harvest rock and stone beneath. There were deep, fresh wounds in the
earth, as well as the scars of past wounds still visible.
We’d no sooner passed that, when the scene changed again: a farmer was seeding his
cultivated field. I wondered if it was being seeded for the first time this spring, or perhaps
reseeded after the many downpours we’ve had? It takes a lot of hard work and faith to be a
farmer.
Faith.
Life has a way of dealing blows that can shake even the strongest faith … and undermine our
sense of well-being and security with fear and anxiety … sometimes these are terrorist acts in
the name of religion, accusations of interference, cover ups, and lying among those we
entrust to be world leaders. And closer to home, dissension, wounds, scars, and clamor as
we each try to have our own voice heard.
What could my voice possibly offer that would reassure and nurture the faith of a hurting
people? What can we have faith in? What do we believe? I went looking, and found the
United Church of Canada’s Song of Faith. You probably have already have noticed that much
of today’s service has been adapted from it. A Song of Faith, written in 2006 was the United
Church’s attempt to provide a verbal picture of what it understands its faith to be in our time.
This was not the first time the United Church of Canada formally expressed its collective
faith, the first was in the Basis of Union, in 1925. “The church’s faith is grounded in truths thatare timeless, and yet ‘these truths must be embraced anew by Christians of each generation
and stated in the thoughts of their own age’.” That’s a quote introducing the United
Church’s second Statement of Faith, in 1940. In 1968, the church again stated its faith in words
appropriate to its time, in A New Creed.
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…
Last week, someone reminded me that a wise elder once said, “there’s a reason that God gave
us one mouth and two ears.” And so, I am not going to ‘preach’ today. Rather than telling
you what I think A Song of Faith means, we are going to listen to Kristy passages, then we’ll
all pause and listen for that still, small voice that can be so hard to hear in the busy-ness and
clamor of our lives.
A Song of Faith (abridged, UCC, 2006)
God is Holy Mystery,
beyond complete knowledge,
above perfect description.
Yet,
in love,
the one eternal God seeks relationship.
So God creates the universe
and with it the possibility of being and relating.
God tends the universe,
mending the broken and reconciling the estranged.
God enlivens the universe,
guiding all things toward harmony with their Source.
Grateful for God’s loving action,
We cannot keep from singing.
…Finding ourselves in a world of beauty and mystery,
… we sing of God the Creator,
the Maker and Source of all that is.
Each part of creation reveals unique aspects of God the Creator,
who is both in creation and beyond it.
All parts of creation, animate and inanimate, are related.
All creation is good.
We sing of the Creator,who made humans to live and move
and have their being in God.
In and with God,
we can direct our lives toward right relationship
with each other and with God.
We can discover our place as one strand in the web of life.
We can grow in wisdom and compassion.
We can recognize all people as kin.
We can accept our mortality and finitude, not as a curse,
but as a challenge to make our lives and choices matter. (music and silent reflection)
… And so we sing of God the Spirit,
who from the beginning has swept over the face of creation,
animating all energy and matter
and moving in the human heart.
We sing of God the Spirit,
faithful and untameable,
who is creatively and redemptively active in the world.
The Spirit challenges us to celebrate the holy
not only in what is familiar,
but also in that which seems foreign.
We sing of the Spirit,
who speaks our prayers of deepest longing
and enfolds our concerns and confessions,
transforming us and the world.
The Spirit breathes revelatory power into scripture,
bestowing upon it a unique and normative place
in the life of the community.
The Spirit judges us critically when we abuse scripture
by interpreting it narrow-mindedly,
using it as a tool of oppression, exclusion, or hatred.
The wholeness of scripture testifies
to the oneness and faithfulness of God.
The multiplicity of scripture testifies to its depth:
two testaments, four gospels,
contrasting points of view held in tension—
all a faithful witness to the One and Triune God,
the Holy Mystery that is Wholly Love. (music and silent reflection)
… We sing of Jesus,
a Jew,
born to a woman in poverty
in a time of social upheaval
and political oppression.
He knew human joy and sorrow.
So filled with the Holy Spirit was hethat in him people experienced the presence of God among them.
We sing praise to God incarnate
We sing of a church
seeking to continue the story of Jesus
by embodying Christ’s presence in the world.
We are called together by Christ
as a community of broken but hopeful believers,
loving what he loved,
living what he taught,
striving to be faithful servants of God
in our time and place.
Our ancestors in faith
bequeath to us experiences of their faithful living;
upon their lives our lives are built.
Our living of the gospel makes us a part of this communion of saints,
experiencing the fulfillment of God’s reign
even as we actively anticipate a new heaven and a new earth.
(music and silent reflection)
We place our hope in God.
We sing of a life beyond life
and a future good beyond imagining:
a new heaven and a new earth,
the end of sorrow, pain, and tears,
Christ’s return and life with God,
the making new of all things.
We yearn for the coming of that future,
even while participating in eternal life now.
Divine creation does not cease
until all things have found wholeness, union, and integration
with the common ground of all being.
As children of the Timeless One,
our time-bound lives will find completion
in the all-embracing Creator.
In the meantime, we embrace the present,
embodying hope, loving our enemies,
caring for the earth, choosing life.
A complete version of Song of Faith, 2006, can be found at:
http://www.united-church.ca/community-faith/welcome-united-church-canada/song-faithQuietness of Prayer (adapted from A Song of Faith, 2006)
Holy and Triune God,
we call you by many names.
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer God,
we give thanks for our many blessings:
for the beauty of your creation, and our place within it;
for loving relationships;
for our freedom to choose to worship,
for this faith community, and
the rich heritage of this church inherited from our ancestors.
Source of Life, Living Word and Bond of Love
Spirit Mother, Friend, and Comforter,
we pour out the burdens of our hearts with honesty and humility, grieving
brokenness of human life and of community.
We confess that we, the church, have not always lived up to your vision –
clamoring to have our own voice heard,
failing to speak out against injustice and violence.
We give thanks for your living word passed on from generation to generation.
Be our song for the journey.
Challenge us and help us to live an emerging faith while honouring
tradition.
Guide and inspire us.
Help us to be doers of the Word and not hearers only. Amen
Ministry of Music: How Can I Keep From Singing
Blessing at Dismissal (adapted from A Song of Faith, 2006)
Let us now go forth
loving what Christ loved
living what he taught,
striving to be faithful servants of God. Amen

© 2017 MARK STREET UNITED CHURCH