Statement of Faith
I believe the story of God begins when there was nothing but God, a community of three persons, who in freedom and love created the universe and all that is in it and then called us to participate in this story. This One, Holy, Living, Communal God, desiring to be in relationship with us, covenanted with Abraham and invited his descendants to play a unique role in this story – to proclaim God’s love and witness to God’s grace to all the world. God’s faithfulness to the children of Abraham was demonstrated even when they were unfaithful by delivering them from slavery, gifting them with Torah, gracing them with land, and providing loving discipline when their own sinfulness threatened to destroy them. This God – the God of Abraham and Sarah, of Isaac and Rebekah, of Jacob and Rachel – the God revealed in the pages of the Hebrew Scriptures and the stories of the Israelites, is the One True God whom we worship and serve today.
Because God’s people continually broke this covenant, in the fullness of time God chose to continue the story by establishing a new covenant. This covenant does not supersede or replace the original covenant; rather, it enhances and fulfills it. It is not the beginning of a new story, but a new chapter in the story already being told; indeed, it is the climax to the story, planned before time began. This new covenant was established in the life, ministry, person, work, and resurrection of Jesus; part of the community of God before time began; the Word present at Creation; born of a virgin in Bethlehem; raised in Nazareth; baptized by John in the River Jordan; who taught, healed, served, discipled, sent, forgave, welcomed outcasts, challenged religious authorities, created community, and embodied the Kingdom of God. Jesus felt what we feel, suffered as we suffer, and poured himself out in servanthood, ultimately dying by crucifixion because of his words and actions. God raised this Jesus from the dead. Because Jesus was truly human he was able to call ordinary people to participate in God’s story. Because Jesus was truly divine he was able to connect us to God’s story and claim us as God’s people, reconciling us with God and saving us from ourselves by offering himself up on our behalf, conquering the power of sin and death, and ascending to heaven to be with the Father. I believe this Jesus is Lord and the only Son of God.
Though Jesus was the climax to the story, God’s story continues through the work of the Holy Spirit in the world. The Holy Spirit enables us to experience God’s divine presence in our lives, empowers us to fulfill God’s calling to be a light to the nations, enlightens us by calling us into community with God and one another, comforts us by breathing life into our weary souls, advocates for us within the community of God, and seeks justice in the world on behalf of all who are oppressed, poor, downtrodden, victimized, abused, forgotten, or left out of the power structures of this world. I believe the Holy Spirit calls us to continue to tell God’s story by being about this work.
The work of the Holy Spirit is most keenly, though not exclusively, experienced through the work, worship, and mission of the Church, God’s people who are called into covenant community and then sent out into the world to continue to tell and participate in God’s story. The Church is called to be an alternative reality, to be an outpost of the Kingdom of God in the here and now, to discover its unique sentness by joining God’s mission in the world, and to be a Church with the world even as we witness to and embody God’s presence in the world. To accomplish this the Church has been given specific tools. The Holy Scriptures teach us God’s story so we will know what God is up to in the world. Baptism is the sign and seal of God’s grace and faithfulness, commissioning us for God’s work in the world. The Eucharist calls us together to meet and experience God in community around the table so we will recognize God as we go out into the world, and nourishes us in advance for the work God has prepared for us to do