Sermon

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30 Apr 09:30 -All Age Worship

Launch of ‘Look Well on these Skies’


March 6, 2016, was an exciting morning at Mayfield Salisbury, because at our morning services we launched the book produced by members of the congregation: ‘Look well on these Skies’ and every worshipper was encouraged to take a copy away with them to read and enjoy and also to take extra copies to pass around.
 
The tone of the services was set by the words of Francis Collins, Director of the Human Genome Project & Director of the National Institutes of Health, USA, which were quoted on the front of the Orders of Service. ‘The God of the Bible is also the God of the Genome.   He can be worshipped in the cathedral or the laboratory.   His creation is majestic, awesome, intricate and beautiful – and it cannot be at war with itself…It is time to call a truce between the escalating war between science and spirit – a war initiated by extremists on both sides….science is not threatened by God and God is most certainly not threatened by science; He made it possible.’  
 
The sermon was preached by Revd Professor David Fergusson, Principle of New College, University of Edinburgh, Gifford Lecturer.
 
Professor Fergusson said, ‘The book is remarkably rich in terms of its content, clarity and range of literary forms. It could not have been written by one person, and it shows the benefits of teamwork, cross-disciplinary collaboration and the editorial hand of those who can communicate effectively with wider audiences. Like the gospels, it also has the merit of being short and very manageable. So you can dip in and out of it, and return to it with profit. Its technical sections are clear and of course well informed, and these are supplement by poems, reading and reflections. I trust that it will be widely used by individuals and groups.’
 
He also stressed how science and faith ask different questions. ‘They offer different answers and have contrasting approaches. Why is there a universe at all? Is there a purpose to my being here? Why are loving God and my neighbour the two most important commandments? These are not scientific questions that can be dealt with by theory and experimentation. The ‘why’ questions are of another order and produce different forms of understanding.  Science for its part has made spectacular progress in the last four centuries with the how questions – how does the universe work, how do human being come to be here, how do our bodies function.’  
 
Later he mentioned Jonathan Sacks, the former Chief Rabbi, who was awarded the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion last week, and has written of what he calls the great partnership between science and religion, saying ‘Science takes things apart to see how they work. Religion puts things together to see what they mean.'
 
Professor Fergusson’s sermon is available in audio, video and text here.
 
The editor in chief of the book, Douglas Blackwood, summarized what the book is about in our parish magazine, ‘With contributions from very many members of our congregation, this booklet, through prose, poetry and illustrations, is a response to claims that religious beliefs have been overtaken by the amazing progress of science. Creation in Scripture, the Big Bang, evolution, DNA and consciousness are all discussed. Other topics include how we keep the Bible at the heart of a scientific world view; suffering in an evolutionary world; and ways in which faith illuminates the science of climate change, organ transplantation and genetic modification.’
 
This is further explained in the introduction to the book itself, which states: “It is fair to ask ‘Why another booklet on science and religion?’ when the topic is already so thoroughly addressed by eminent theologians and scientists. The idea for this booklet emerged when members of Mayfield Salisbury Parish Church, with backgrounds in teaching and research across a range of scientific fields, decided to respond to the ‘Scientists in Congregations’ initiative of the Templeton Foundation. In our largely secular culture, there is a deeply ingrained viewpoint that religious beliefs and practices are products of an earlier, less enlightened age that has been convincingly overtaken by science. The Scientists in Congregations project is timely in its aim of ‘seeking to encourage conversation about faith and science within congregations across Scotland’. The experience of each one of us has been that science sustains and deepens our Christian faith, contrary to the widely held perception of a head-on collision between science and the Bible.”  
 
The books are free of charge thanks to generous funding from the Templeton Foundation through ‘Scientists in Congregations Scotland’. They are available from Mayfield Salisbury Parish Church. Requests for hard copies should be made to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / 0131 667 1522 or by sending a message at Contact Us. The booklet can also be downloaded from: www.mayfieldsalisbury.org here or www.sicscotland.org

News Flash

The latest newsleter from the Presbytery of Edinburgh may be found HERE.

   ‘LOOK WELL ON THESE SKIES’

'Amazed by Science, illumined by Religion' This booklet is available free of charge.  Details here

 

Quote

  • Because God is both knowable and unknowable the tension of the symbol, the multilayers of the myth and the openness of the poetic are all vital to our desire to celebrate the Mystery to whom we relate and in whom we have our being.
    Mark Oakley

  • You must love him as he is: neither God, nor spirit, nor image; even more, the One without commingling, pure, luminous ...

    Meister Eckhart

  • The purpose of our life is God's glory. However lowly a life is, that is what makes it great.
    Oscar Romero

  • Faith may justify bigotry or fanaticism, as Church history tragically witnesses. It needs a safeguard. If it is not animated as it were by the greatest of the theological virtues (love), faith can become defective.
    Thomas Norris

  • Dry not, dry not, your tears of love eternal! Only to eyes that fail to weep does this world seem so dull and dead. Dry not, dry not, those long, sad tears of love.
    Johann von Goette

  • The post modern paradigm manifests itself as a unity which preserves diversity and diversity which strives after unity.
    David Bosch

  • There is only one assertion that requires no evidence. Children are a sacred trust...Unless we care properly for our children, we shall never build a better world.
    'A Good Childhood’ The Children’s Society

  • These are only hints and guesses, hints followed by guesses; and the rest is prayer.
    'The Dry Salvages' T.S.Eliot

  • According to strict truth, God is incomprehensible, and incapable of being measured.
    Origen

  • Myth is a story about the way things never were, but always are.
    Thomas Mann

  • In the darkness ...The child of your love - and now become as the most hated one - the one You have thrown away as unwanted - unloved ..... The darkness is so dark .... I have no faith.
    Mother Teresa

  • I love the Bible. I owe my faith and my life to the Bible and its liberating message. It is in the Bible that I first met Jesus ... I too am included in God's embrace.
    Gene Robinson

  • It is this great absence that is like a presence, that compels me to address it without hope of a reply ....
    R.S. Thomas

  • Faith is not a proud self-consistent philosophy. It involves maintaining oneself between contradictions that can't be solved by analysis. It is therefore a living response to the grace of God as revealed in fragile lives.
    Mark Oakley

  • Any religion which does not say that God is hidden is not true.
    Blaise Pascal

  • The contemporary Church is losing aspects of its wide and generous memory and therefore condemning itself to become a 'swimming pool Church' - one that has all the noise coming from the shallow end.
    Mark Oakley

  • For all your doctrinal headaches take Paradox.
    Mark Oakley

  • The true vision and the true knowledge of what we seek consists precisely in not seeing, in an awareness that our goal transcends all knowledge and is everywhere cut off from us by the darkness of incomprehensibility.
    St Gregory of Nyssa

  • Death, death be hanged, the Lord has promised me that I shall live. This I believe!
    Martin Luther

  • We feel that even when all possible scientific questions have been answered, the problems of life have not been put to rest.
    Wittgenstein

  • Religion is the flight of the alone to the Alone.
    Plotinus

  • Stupid clergymen appeal quite directly to a Bible passage directly understood ....
    Soren Kirkegaard

  • What is the point of the arts of reading and criticism as long as the ecclesiastical interpretation of the Bible, Protestant as well as Catholic, is cultivated as ever?
    Friedrich Nietzsche

  • A figure like Ecclesiast, rugged and luminous, chants in the dark a text that is the answer, although obscure.
    Wallace Stevens

  • Myth is the poetry of the soul.
    Sara Maitland

  • Our loss of the ability to think mythically, poetically, allegorically, creatively, theologically, and artfully is a greater threat to our religious experience than anything good scientists have to report ...
    Sara Maitland

  • In general, Zen attitude is that words and truth are incompatible, or at least that no words can capture truth.
    Douglas Hofstadter

  • 'God' is a one word poem
    Rowan Williams

  • What is today? Today is eternity.
    Meister Eckhart

  • Apprehend God in all things, for God is in all things.
    Meister Eckhart

  • The most powerful hunger we have, mostly suppressed and misdirected, is the hunger for God.
    Miroslav Volf

  • We frequently judge that things are as we wish them to be, for through personal feeling true perspective is easily lost.
    Thomas a Kempis

  • Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings when the dawn is still dark.
    Rabindranath Tagore

  • God is the beyond in our midst.
    Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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