What do I believe...?

One of the things that I miss about seminary is the constant re-examination of what I believe. It is easy to get caught up in sermon writing and pastoral duties that take me away from an honest examination of what all any of this means to me anyway... As I was cleaning up my computer desktop I stumbled across my "Statement of Faith" I wrote 5 years ago and thought it would be a good time to look it over and make some changes. Here they are. Suggestions, thoughts, comments... all welcome.

Statement of Faith

In the silence of darkness and chaos God’s life giving breath called creation into being and it is the breath of love that permeates our existence. God’s love flows in and through us, cultivating a hope-filled invitation for us to participate with God in caring for a tragically fallen creation. As we turn away from God to pursue our own ways we chose, circuitously and directly to participate in oppression, suffering, violence and fear. As a community of believers, we have ignored the voices of the marginalized and to live without attention to the ways we are intricately interwoven with one another and with God.

The love God has for us is wonderfully enduring, as prophet after prophet was sent that we might hear the Divine voice calling to us. When we closed our ears and opened our hearts wider to temptation, we cried out from the depths of our brokenness. God’s answer was Jesus of Nazareth, the creative Word of life for all. Promised through the whisper and dreams of the Holy Spirit to Mary and Joseph, he entered the world in humility and under the threat of death. Even before his birth, Jesus was assaulted by persecution and abandonment from the evil and sin he came to heal. Yet his life reveals to us the hope of the Kingdom that surrounds us as he loved sinners, touched outcasts, challenged authority, stood in solidarity with the poor and welcomed the stranger. In his death, Jesus carried the pain of the world into God’s weeping heart. God’s grace and love continued to overcome the darkness of the world as, Jesus broken body emerged from the shadows of deaths tomb. The resurrection embodies God’s eternal promise of healing and healing and wholeness for all creation.

The fulfillment of God’s promise is with us now through the active love and redemption of the untamed and erratic movement of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit assures us, strengthens us, sustains us, and reveals truth in ways our imaginations often cannot conceive. As we faithfully discern God’s truth to us in the Scripture, the Spirit challenges, guides, and teaches us God’s ways for the world.

The church is called to be a visible witness of God’s love in the world. It is called to be one, holy, catholic, and apostolic in its characters and values. We find unity through baptism. Sharing in the Lord’s Supper, we celebrate and are reminded of the promise that God nourishes us spiritually and that we grow in grace (7.096). Gathering at the table and font we are fed with brokenness that can restore us to wholeness and drenched with cleansing waters that fill our parched souls.

The church is holy in fulfilling its covenant relationship with God by doing what is required of it: “to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God” (Mic 6:8). The holiness is neither perfect nor is it pure. Rather, it is the holiness of Jesus Christ who grants the church righteousness because it cannot obtain righteousness on its own.

It is catholic as the church springs up in unlikely places, at unlikely times, and in the universality of Christ’s presences in the world. In this presence, the church bravely embraces the mission and fellowship we enjoy together at the risk of losing its own life to point to a new reality in Christ (G-3.0400).

Finally, the church is apostolic when it is a true witness to the practice the life of the church oriented around its concrete acts working for peace and justice, speaking God’s word, and participating in God’s liberating action.

It is not just one person who responds to the movement of the Holy Spirit to carry out the mission of the church. The whole people of God are called to serve in mission and ministry. We do this by living in fellowship with one another and in obedience to Jesus Christ. Ministry is carried out and undertaken by the love of Christ, as commanded by Christ and lived by every household of faith. Through the community of faith and my understanding of shared ministry, I acknowledge God’s call for my life to ordained ministry affirmed in my baptism. I have a commitment and a responsibility to God and my community of faith to study, teach, worship, preach the Word, celebrate Baptism and the Lord’s Super, engage in prayer, equip others to serve in the church and in the world, care for those who are in need, to seek and do justice in all parts of the world, and in my life demonstrate the imagination, energy, peace, and love of Jesus Christ to all.


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