Statement of Faith
The earliest memory I have of faith is sitting on my grandfather’s lap as he explained what he believed to me. I didn’t necessarily understand what he told me, but I sensed his love, and what he said was important: somehow, these ideas were a part of who I was. That simplicity still matters to me, but now as I’ve grown in understanding, I see it more as elegance. E=mc2, all of five characters, unlocks so much of the wonder of our universe. Scripture, for all its depth and for all of the millennia of commentary, still tells a story of a God loving people, and people trying (and failing) to love back.
I believe God - Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer - loves. God, in total freedom, chose to be in relationship with the Creation and humanity through no doing of our own: God chose to love us before we even existed. We are as people loved just simply because we exist, far more richly than we can understand, like the newborn being held in a loving parent’s arms. Moreover, because we have been loved before we even existed, as our brokenness overtook us, God would always choose to save us.
I believe Jesus Christ - Prophet, Priest, King - reveals and redeems. Jesus Christ’s entire existence was one of a steward, pouring out all of himself to care for all. At moments when he could have done violence for self gain, he chose peace. When he could have chosen to divest from pariahs - the tax collector, the prostitute, the leper, the commoner - he chose instead to be a steward to them. And when the opportunity arose that he could abandon it all, even pleading that the cup be passed, he stayed faithful. As fully God and fully human, Jesus Christ took on the weight of sin, and linked God the Father, Son, and Spirit in the work of the election of humanity, bearing the humility of the cross, by choice, for us. Jesus Christ continues to be our savior and teacher, demonstrating God’s always-and-forever love to us.
I believe the Holy Spirit - Guide, Presence, Gift - embraces. Just as we have always been loved, always been saved, the Holy Spirit always holds, prods, and directs us to find those Jesus Christ saved and is still redeeming, even when they are convinced otherwise. The modern tax collector, prostitute, leper, and commoner need to know that they, too, are forever loved and redeemed. The Holy Spirit within aids us - as best as our imperfect and limited selves can achieve - to tell others the same story of love and hope.
I believe the Church - the gathered believers, holy people assembled - reminds. It is in the church that we lift our sung and spoken prayers with a simple question: “is it true?” God responds to us God’s resounding “Yes!” As we hear the Gospel proclaimed, we hear the stories of life again, and we know that we are never alone, and will never be alone - past faithfulness and future promise gathering into now and always. We remember that we are a people never meant to be alone - not from God nor each other - and so we go out together in the world, reminding them that they, too, are welcome at the assembly.
I believe the Sacraments are the taste and touch of the Holy Trinity surrounded by the assembly. In baptism, we are given the sign and seal through water, being washed clean and given grace in simple bath, and reminded of our shared belonging. In the Lord’s Supper, we taste a sustaining meal in community - a meal that reminds us of Jesus Christ’s death, and a meal where Jesus Christ reveals himself in resurrection. As often as we can celebrate the sacraments together in worship, we are invited to celebrate with all of the Saints from every time and place, who have all asked and heard, even for a fleeting moment God’s promise of presence. We may go forth, elegantly washed and fed to continue the mission to serve those who wish to be clean and no longer hungry.
And so, I am still in the lap of One who loves me, speaking the story of life to me. I understand enough of the story, but I believe that I am loved more than I can entirely understand, and that in spite of all the reasons I should think myself otherwise, I simply believe that every single cell of my body is loved. I want others to know there is a place for them - that they are loved, too. And when I know that there are others who have been told they are not beloved, I come along beside them and share that they, too, are loved, for all of our stories, simple though they may be, carry the elegance of the Holy Trinity.