ABCs of Faith
Outdoor Worship and Picnic (8-27-17)
Rev. Dr. Donna Giver-Johnston
We continue our study of the Psalms today with Psalm 25. Psalm 25 is different than the others because of its form. It was written as an Acrostic Poem. It is hard to see or hear when reading it in English. But, in Hebrew, the original language in which it was written, each line begins with a letter of the alphabet. In Hebrew, it would be aleph, bet, gimmel, dalet. In English: A, B, C, D.
Since this week marked the first day of school for many students and teachers, I thought I would give my sermon as the ABCs of faith. I wrote it as an acrostic poem. For each letter, I used a word from Psalm 25. For example, A is for Abide—a word that is found in the psalm (v. 13). B is for Bring (v. 17). C is for choose (v. 12). Do is for Do (v. 3), etc. In the Psalm, I found a corresponding word for all of the letters except Q, X and Z. I had to be creative with them. And since there was no J word in the psalm, I thought Jesus was an acceptable substitute.
In this sermon, I hope you can appreciate the different forms in which the Psalms were written, in this case as an acrostic poem, while still hearing the central message of Psalm 25—which is a plea for redemption and deliverance and peace. Here goes:
A Abide with me, O Lord, and
B Bring me to your way.
C Choose wisely, the Lord replies,
D Do not go astray.
E Enemies are all around
F Faithful they are not.
G Gracious God, help me to be
H Humble with my lot.
I I led a sinful life from which
J Jesus set me free.
K Keep me on the righteous path
L Let truth and trust lead me.
M Make me to know your way and
N Not forget your call.
O O Lord, I give my life to you
P Preserve me from all.
Q Q is for Quiet; Selah—an interlude to breathe
R Remember me, I pray, with your
S Steadfast mercy and love.
T Teach me to keep my eyes on you
U Upright and above.
V Violent hate threatens us; but you say
W Wait, evil will cease.
X (E)Xult goodness and integrity and
Y You will live in peace.
Z Zee End!
You have heard the ABCs of Faith according to Psalm 25. Now, I invite you to share your own ABCs of Faith. Pick one letter of the alphabet and think of a word that is important to your faith. Maybe it’s G for Grace because you are thankful for God’s amazing grace that saved you from sin. Maybe it’s H for Hope because you are holding onto hope that things will get better in your life. Maybe it’s J for Joy because your faith is reflected in your joy that overflows in you to others. Whatever it is. Just pick one letter, one word, and one reason why it is important to your faith. And then turn to those at your table or those sitting next to you and share.
I will give you 5 minutes to share with one another. G is for Go!