U is for the United Church of Canada
The last few letters have been about ways to read the Bible I hope are helpful to efforts to think about God, and our relationship to God. I am grateful much of my formation as a person of faith, and as a preacher, teacher, pastor, writer, and spiritual director has been within the United Church of Canada. As a denomination we almost always seem to be in the middle of some kind of confusion or controversy as we continue to sort out how to be faithful followers of Jesus. In 2006 the United Church produced “A Song of Faith” which contains good words about Jesus, whose birth we are preparing to celebrate:
We sing of Jesus,
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 he
that in him people experienced the presence of God among them.
We sing praise to God incarnate.
Jesus announced the coming of God’s reign—
a commonwealth not of domination
but of peace, justice, and reconciliation.
He healed the sick and fed the hungry.
He forgave sins and freed those held captive
by all manner of demonic powers.
He crossed barriers of race, class, culture, and gender.
He preached and practised unconditional love—
love of God, love of neighbour,
love of friend, love of enemy—
and he commanded his followers to love one another
as he had loved them….
By becoming flesh in Jesus,
God makes all things new.
In Jesus’ life, teaching, and self-offering,
God empowers us to live in love.
In Jesus’ crucifixion,
God bears the sin, grief, and suffering of the world.
In Jesus’ resurrection,
God overcomes death.
Nothing separates us from the love of God.
The Advent Alphabet is a ministry offering of Rev. Darrow Woods, of Trinity United Church in Oakville, Ontario.