Do We Believe in God or Do We Believe God?
Jeremiah 3:21-4:2, Psalm 130, 1 Corinthians 7:17-23, Mark 1:14-20
January 23, 2000
Seminary life can competitive and crazy making at times and the chapel at my seminary seemed to focus everyone's negative energy on the performance of the student presiding at Morning Prayer each day. If you were chosen to lead the service that morning and if you made the tiniest mistake, you would hear about it from your fellow students for the rest of the month. So a few weeks before I graduated, I presided at Morning Prayer for the last time while I was in seminary. It was a beautiful spring morning and the sacristans had opened the windows on both sides of the chapel to let some of the warm spring air inside. The organist maintained very long periods of silence between the end of each reading and the singing of a canticle such as the Song of Mary or the Song of Simeon. While we were sitting there in the middle of one of these silent periods a breeze rustled through the windows so that all my papers and things for conducting Morning Prayer blew off my prayer desk and onto the floor in the middle of chapel. With some decorum I proceeded to gather up the papers and I momentarily lost track of where we were in the service. "It must be time for the Apostles' Creed" I thought to myself so I stood up and began the creed with "I believe in God."
There was only one small problem. It wasn't time for the Apostles' Creed it was time for the next canticle. The congregation of students and faculty did not continue with the rest of the creed, but instead they remained silent waiting for the organ and cantor to start the canticle. In spite of my grievous error, no one said a word to me about it. After all, what do you say to criticize someone who stands up in the middle of a chapel service and belts out "I believe in God?"
But believing IN something can seem like believing in magic, believing in Santa Claus, believing in the ...
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