Lesson 9: Faith (Part 2)

Words of the CreedLast week I described faith as trusting the God found in the common story proclaimed by the Christian community. I boiled down that Gospel to God’s promise to be active in history, rescuing the creation from self-destruction and especially, humanity from the suffering it inflicts on itself.

My Monday evening discussion group accused me of being pretty abstract and pushed for getting down to specifics. I expected they wanted to tear apart the phrases in the three ecumenical creeds. Instead, they made clear they understood the historical context for these, but questioned if they were adequate statements of faith for use in worship in the 21st century. At the same time, they acknowledged the difficulty for finding something better.

Two of the participants suggested the New Creed of the United Church of Canada was an excellent attempt. Here it is:

A New Creed, The 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.
A New Creed is a brief and well-loved affirmation of faith used widely in our worship (1968; rev. 1980, 1995).
The 20 Articles of Doctrine; A Statement of Faith, 1940; A New Creed; and A Song of Faith are recognized as standards subordinate to the primacy of scripture in the doctrine section of the Basis of Union.

At the end of the session the poet of the group said something like: “Poets are always on the hunt for fresh language, so it can be challenging for them to write about faith, hope and love which are often best expressed through the conventions and conventional language of the past. Lately, however, I have been trying to express my faith in my poems, as here in “Credos.” For poets, expressions of faith will also be incomplete and partial, and in need of further statements by others. They understand that the finger pointing at the moon (language) can never be the moon itself. One “credo” just won’t do it.”

He then read one of his poems, “Credos.” Here it is:



I have suffered fools gladly. How
else to make friends on Planet Earth
I never knew. With my own paw
Extended, I have felt changes

not come, have lived lies, have spent mind
in glass cities, watched rivers flow
under stone bridges while the poor
were with us still, having outlived

their shepherd and his fragrant oils,
defender of the unlocked soul
who rises in us every day
to count the fools made glad by love.


There could be no world
if God entered the world directly,
drying up our little stories
like puddles in the sun.

You who saw hope in well-lit clouds,
better treasure instead
the meal together: bite
of the cheap wine, breath of the broken bread.


Under the gaze of cows chewing
slowly on a green hill in June,
a soul could ripple like a pond
touched by wind or skimmed by a stone.

This magic of black and white cows
looking stops cars, brings the charmed hands
rest on the steering wheel as if
some Holstein sighs could change our ways.

Cowboy, cowgirl, wobbly after
The long ride back from History,
We stand and breathe, gently closing
The car doors while the sisters eat.

Will Lane, August-September 2018

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