“ONE WORLD: Many FAITHS” –
a sermon for one world week
A sermon preached at
Right: Noah’s Pudding
Today is the start of One World Week. It is a time:
· to remember that God gave us this planet to enjoy.
· to recall the diversity and
of this one world and its inhabitants
· to promise God that we will use the
planet earth well
and share it with others.
Today we have read of God’s
promises to Noah after the flood.
It was good to hear the story read in Korean –
a reminder that our one world
(the world God entrusted to Noah and his descendants)
is not given to one nation or one culture –
but to the rainbow people of God –
and God’s rainbow promise is there for us all!
It’s good to see our Southern African members
rejoicing today -
But if you happen to belong to the sort of nation
that gets beaten by the Australians at cricket
and the Russians at Soccer and the South Africans at Rugby,
its good to recall that nations may rise and fall,
but God’s rainbow still overarches every land!
If we had read on a bit further, we would have discovered that –
in spite of God’s promises - sadly Noah soon lets God down –
· He gets blind drunk.
he picks a quarrel with Ham, one of his sons,
and condemns his descendents to slavery.
In every generation the story of Noah is repeated –
· God gives us the world
· We indulge to excess and abuse God’s gifts and demean ourselves in the process
· We use our God given power to enslave and diminish our enemies
· But God’s love remains- for all people, for those of all nations
And, we should add, for those of all faiths.
Remember Noah is venerated in Jewish, Christian and Moslem tradition,
but (& this is important) Noah wasn’t a Jew or a Christian or a Moslem –
Before any great world religion had been founded,
God gave Noah a promise to preserve this one world for all his children.
So when Christ talks of himself as
the Good Shepherd,
he is not concerned with just a part of the flock –
not just the black or the white sheep,
or the pious or the sinful,
or this nation or that,
not just the Jewish or Moslem or Christian ones –
but with them all.
When 99 sheep out of a 100 are safely gathered in,
God does not rest until he has gone and found the very last sheep
and carried him safe home.
Some say God is the God only of committed born again Christians
the rest are going to eternal damnation.
And of course there are passages in Scripture which can be read that way.
But you have to read scripture as a whole –
and for me, the key message of Scripture is that
God loves every single member of the human race -
and he will go to any lengths – even death on a cross – to save us all.
As Charles Wesley sings of
God’s love -
“Throughout the world its breadth is known,
Wide as infinity
So wide it never passed by one -
Or else it passed by me”
And if God loves 100% of the human race,
who are we to pick and choose?
There is an old Jewish story in the Talmud:
An old man comes to
Abraham doesn’t know him,
but following the traditions of Eastern hospitality,
he offers him food.
But first Abraham invites his visitor to join him in prayer.
But the old man does not share Abraham’s faith
and refuses to pray with him.
So Abraham throws him out the tent.
That night God appears to Abraham in a dream and says
“I have patiently endured that stubborn old fool for 70 years –
could you not endure him for one night?”
There is an old Moslem tradition about Noah,
which tells how, when Noah and his family came out of the ark,
they brought all the odds and ends of food they had left
and made a pudding to share.
And so there is a tradition,
(still I think current in some Moslem and Christian communities
in the Mediterranean but also being picked up elsewhere)
of making Noah’s Pudding –
The essential ingredients are:
wheat, rice, sugar, nuts, dried fruit, beans, raisins and sesame seeds.
All the ingredients are boiled together
until they reach a thick porridge-like consistency.
This dessert is served cold.– it sounds a bit odd –
maybe we’ll put the recipe in the next issue of Forward
for those who are interested –
anyway the idea is that it contains all the things the Noahs
might have found left at the bottom of the galley cupboard
when they finally struck land..
And tradition says that when you have made it, you should
share the pudding with your neighbours –
those nearest to you –
40 households to the North, 40 to the South,
40 to the East & 40 to the West.
And you share it with all your neighbours –
whoever they are.
A car bomb in Karachi
killed 130 people this week and maybe we
What can we do?
Maybe we could do worse than begin by cooking a pudding
and sharing it with 40 homes at each point of the compass –
160 gestures of goodwill and solidarity
sending a shock wave of love and peace from our small action?
We don’t make Noah Puddings in Exeter as far as I know –
but we in the Christian Church follow
a Saviour who ate and drank with all people –
saints and sinners, Jews and Samaritans –
he had a place for them in his heart –
As members of one world family, as followers of Christ,
we should share with all.
Some of you will know that the Exeter Interfaith Group
meets here on these premises every month.
I sent out a mistyped email this week:
one misplaced “t” turned the Inter Faith Group into the Inert Faith Group –
but this group is not at all inert –
it seeks to put faith into action as
Jewish, Moslem, Christian, Baha’i, Buddhist and other
members meet and share ideas and plans
and eat food prepared by members here at the Mint.
As Christians, we may not share
of all those with whom we meet –
Indeed we may need to challenge each other on many things -
but we do so in love,
welcoming those of other faiths as part of God’s family,
as our sisters and brothers, like us made in God’s image.
This afternoon at 2 pm
we meet at the Mint to go on a Faith Walk –
Just a simple walk from here to the Synagogue, Southernhay URC
and then finishing at the Mosque for tea and biscuits.
At each place we will stop, be welcomed,
and learn a little of the tradition of that community.
Some of you might like to join us.
In One World Week, we need to recognize how much
this one world of ours needs us to talk with
and respect and love those on other spiritual pathways.
It was Hans Kung, the Roman
Catholic theologian, who said
"There can be no peace among the nations
without peace among the religions.
And there can be no peace among the religions
without dialogue among the religions."
You know, the more I talk to
friends of other faiths,
the more I am sure of two things:
(1) I would and could not swap my faith for theirs for anything -
Christ is all in all for me –
and in him I find God speaking to me in amazing ways.
And if you are one of those members of our congregation
who are really new to Christianity,
we’d love to share with you our excitement about Jesus
and how he transforms our lives!
(2) At the heart of our Christian belief
is God’s love for all his children –
showing us the way in this life
and preparing a place for us in the life to come.
And if the love of God can make room for me
(when so often I feel like that lost and lonely
100th sheep on the stormy crag) –
if there is room even for me,
then surely he who placed the rainbow
amidst the storm clouds,
and who searched through the night
for the last lost lamb,
surely, surely, he will also bring these
my sisters and brothers safe home too
ORDER OF SERVICE
Hymn 9 “Immortal, Invisible”
All Age Ministry – Debbie Myhill
Hymn 25 “He’s got the whole world”
Leader: Let us share the peace
Adults: The peace of the Lord be with you
Children: And also with you
Leader: Go in peace
[Young people leave for their own sessions]
13육백 일년 정월 곧 그 달 일일에 지면에 물이 걷힌지라 노아가 방주 뚜껑을 제치고 본즉 지면에 물이 걷혔더니 이월 이십칠일에 땅이 말랐더라 하나님이 노아에게 말씀하여 가라사대 너는 네 아내와 네 아들들과 네 자부들로 더불어 방주에서 나오고 너와 함께한 모든 혈육 있는 생물 곧 새와 육축과 땅에 기는 모든 것을 다 이끌어 내라 이것들이 땅에서 생육하고 땅에서 번성하리라 하시매 노아가 그 아들들과 그 아내와 그 자부들과 함께 나왔고 땅위의 동물 곧 모든 짐승과 모든 기는 것과 모든 새도 그 종류대로 방주에서 나왔더라 노아가 여호와를 위하여 단을 쌓고 모든 정결한 짐승 중에서와 모든 정결한 새 중에서 취하여 번제로 단에 드렸더니 여호와께서 그 향기를 흠향하시고 그 중심에 이르시되 내가 다시는 사람으로 인하여 땅을 저주하지 아니하리니 이는 사람의 마음의 계획하는 바가 어려서부터 악함이라 내가 전에 행한 것 같이 모든 생물을 멸하지 아니하리니 땅이 있을 동안에는 심음과 거둠과 추위와 더위와 여름과 겨울과 낮과 밤이 쉬지 아니하리라
到 挪 亞 六 百 零 一 歲 ， 正 月 初 一 日 ， 地 上 的 水 都 乾 了 。 挪 亞 撤 去 方 舟 的 蓋 觀 看 ， 便 見 地 面 上 乾 了 。 到 了 二 月 二 十 七 日 ， 地 就 都 乾 了 。 神 對 挪 亞 說 ： 你 和 你 的 妻 子 、 兒 子 、 兒 婦 都 可 以 出 方 舟 。 在 你 那 裡 凡 有 血 肉 的 活 物 ， 就 是 飛 鳥 、 牲 畜 ， 和 一 切 爬 在 地 上 的 昆 蟲 ， 都 要 帶 出 來 ， 叫 他 在 地 上 多 多 滋 生 ， 大 大 興 旺 。 於 是 挪 亞 和 他 的 妻 子 、 兒 子 、 兒 婦 都 出 來 了 。 一 切 走 獸 、 昆 蟲 、 飛 鳥 ， 和 地 上 所 有 的 動 物 ， 各 從 其 類 ， 也 都 出 了 方 舟 。 挪 亞 為 耶 和 華 築 了 一 座 壇 ， 拿 各 類 潔 淨 的 牲 畜 、 飛 鳥 獻 在 壇 上 為 燔 祭 。 耶 和 華 聞 那 馨 香 之 氣 ， 就 心 裡 說 ： 我 不 再 因 人 的 緣 故 咒 詛 地 （ 人 從 小 時 心 裡 懷 著 惡 念 ） ， 也 不 再 按 著 我 才 行 的 滅 各 種 的 活 物 了 。 地 還 存 留 的 時 候 ， 稼 穡 、 寒 暑 、 冬 夏 、 晝 夜 就 永 不 停 息 了 。
Reading: The Lost Sheep - Luke 15:1-7 (page 1048)
모든 세리와 죄인들이 말씀을 들으러 가까이 나아오니 바리새인과 서기관들이 원망하여 가로되 이 사람이 죄인을 영접하고 음식을 같이 먹는다 하더라 예수께서 저희에게 이 비유로 이르시되 너희 중에 어느 사람이 양 일백 마리가 있는데 그 중에 하나를 잃으면 아흔 아홉 마리를 들에 두고 그 잃은 것을 찾도록 찾아 다니지 아니하느냐 또 찾은즉 즐거워 어깨에 메고 집에 와서 그 벗과 이웃을 불러 모으고 말하되 나와 함께 즐기자 나의 잃은 양을 찾았노라 하리라 내가 너희에게 이르노니 이와 같이 죄인 하나가 회개하면 하늘에서는 회개할 것 없는 의인 아흔 아홉을 인하여 기뻐하는 것보다 더하리라
眾 稅 吏 和 罪 人 都 挨 近 耶 穌 ， 要 聽 他 講 道 。 法 利 賽 人 和 文 士 私 下 議 論 說 ： 這 個 人 接 待 罪 人 ， 又 同 他 們 吃 飯 。 耶 穌 就 用 比 喻 說 ： 你 們 中 間 誰 有 一 百 隻 羊 失 去 一 隻 ， 不 把 這 九 十 九 隻 撇 在 曠 野 、 去 找 那 失 去 的 羊 ， 直 到 找 著 呢 ？ 找 著 了 ， 就 歡 歡 喜 喜 的 扛 在 肩 上 ， 回 到 家 裡 ， 就 請 朋 友 鄰 舍 來 ， 對 他 們 說 ： 我 失 去 的 羊 已 經 找 著 了 ， 你 們 和 我 一 同 歡 喜 罷 ！ 我 告 訴 你 們 ， 一 個 罪 人 悔 改 ， 在 天 上 也 要 這 樣 為 他 歡 喜 ， 較 比 為 九 十 九 個 不 用 悔 改 的 義 人 歡 喜 更 大 。
Hymn 230 There’s a wideness
“O source of many cultures”
(Andrew E Pratt Tune 478(i) Bentley)
Prayers of Intercession
lord hear my prayer
People (sing): O Lord hear my prayer, O lord hear my prayer,
When I call, answer me.
O Lord hear my prayer, O lord hear my prayer,
Come and listen to me.
(© Taize Community, Calamus Licence No 1613)
(Leslie Griffiths. © Stainer and Bell)
Hymn 485 “Blessed City”