Creation Poetry

A sermon preached today, in a series on the Apostles’ Creed.

 

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I believe in God the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.  

 

Creator of heaven and earth.

 

Genesis 1:1    In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters… Then God said, let there be light, and there was light…

 

God said, let there be lights in the sky to give light upon the earth, and it was so…

God said, let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth, and it was so…

God said, let the earth bring forth living creatures of every kind, and it was so.

 

That God created the heavens and the earth is foundational to the faith we confess.

 

Where once there was nothing, there is something, by God’s grace and power.

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Letter to Jesus

A sermon preached at the induction of the Rev. Greg Davidson into pastoral ministry in the congregation of Briarwood Presbyterian Church. References to Kierkegaard are from his Practice in Christianity.

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An open letter to Jesus.

 

February 8th, 2009

 

Dear Jesus,

 

It’s me again – no doubt you’re more than familiar with my handwriting by now. I only hope that it hasn’t gotten to the point that you groan in discovering yet another missive from yours truly as you thumb through the morning mail. And yes Jesus, I know, I don’t have to write to you – my ancestors in the faith did well to teach me that I can speak with you directly (the temple curtain is torn in two – gone are the priestly vestments). But somehow it’s easier for me to put things in writing, to put pen to paper in sorting through my thoughts, in sorting out questions of faith. No doubt this predilection for the pen and paper also comes from my ancestors in faith. I beg your patience, then, Jesus, as I once again spill out my thoughts and frustrations and questions to you.

 

This week I was thinking about those early days of ministry – of your ministry – when John the baptizer was still in prison. I sometimes wonder whether it frustrated you that the holy man clothed in camel-hair didn’t know that you were the one for whom he prepared the way – he’d heard about what you were doing, but still wasn’t sure you were the chosen one. But that’s a question for another day.

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Sermon: Doubt and Dogma (2)

A sermon preached in anticipation of a sermon series on the Apostles’ Creed. A few themes from this sermon are borrowed from Timothy Keller’s book, The Reason for God. (Sermon date: January 18, 2009)

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As we continue to prepare for a sermon series on the Apostles Creed, we turn from thinking about doubt last week to thinking about dogma this morning. And as we do so the first thing to notice is that our society’s perspective on doubt and dogma, are two side of the same coin.

 

       If, as we said last week, doubt is in fashion,            then dogma is very much out of                                                                                                   fashion.

       If doubt is considered sophisticated,                       then dogma is considered simplistic,                                                                                                       naive.

       If doubt is thought to be responsible                       then dogma is thought to be the height of irresponsibility.

 

 

In this vein we find Christopher Hitchens, the hyper-sceptic, the evangelical atheist, saying:

“To choose dogma over doubt is to throw out the ripening vintage and to reach greedily for the Kool-Aid.”

 

For Christopher Hitchens, doubt is a nice bottle of California Pinot Noir,

                      while dogma is a juice pitcher full of 

                                           coloured sugar water.

 

Doubt and dogma are but two sides of the same coin. Our society’s doubtful attitude toward religion goes hand in hand with a refusal of religious dogma.

 

This week we take up the question of dogma for the same reason that we took up the question of doubt last week. We do so because the attitudes and perspectives of those who live around us have an impact on us. We don’t live in a bubble, sealed off from Canadian society. We are part of that society. We can’t expect ourselves to be immune from questions or criticism or different ways of thinking.

 

When it comes to the specific question of dogma, our society often sends the message that those who hold to religious dogma are out of fashion, are naive, or are even irresponsible. And in hearing this we very quickly begin to think that we are out of fashion, that we are naïve, that we are irresponsible. As we stand to speak the words of the Apostles’ Creed on a Sunday morning we may even feel that we are going contrary to what is acceptable.

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