A Statement of Faith

 By Rev. Mary Raine
I believe in God, who eternally exists in relationship, an equal community of three: Father, Son and Spirit, yet still one God. God is Love, and acting in love, God created the universe, and also created humankind, male and female, in God’s own image. All people were created to be in relationship with God, loving and serving God, each other and the world, praising God together and enjoying God’s presence with us.
But people refused to submit to God’s sovereign rule. Because we tried to be like God and rebelled against God’s rightful authority, God allowed us to experience the consequences of our rebellion and sin. We, and the world for which we were to care, were cut off from God, each other and ourselves, powerless to save ourselves. Despite our rebellion, God continued to be faithful, being revealed throughout the ages.
The Spirit inspired writers to tell God’s story in Scripture – our first and ultimate authority. God’s story was revealed through the faith journey of the Patriarchs, God’s covenant with Israel, the vehement voice of the prophets, and finally, by the incarnation, the Word made flesh. The Scripture is so timeless that in it we hear God’s voice to all cultures and times.

Today, the church, empowered by the Holy Spirit, carries God’s story of redemption to the world in word and deed. God, in love and righteousness, planned for our rescue before creation. In the fullness of time, the Kingdom of heaven broke into time and God became human by the Holy Spirit and lived among us. Jesus, wholly human and wholly divine, revealed all that being human in right relationship with God could be. God was revealed through the Son, and the sinless Son demonstrated the sacrificial love of the Godhead by dying on the cross, and paying the debt for our sin and guilt. Through the resurrection, Jesus broke the power of sin, death and Satan. He is now exalted at the right hand of the Father.

When, by grace, we repent and turn from our sin and rebellion and surrender our lives to Jesus as Lord and God, we are freed from the bondage of sin and set on the journey of transformation, learning to live in obedient submission to God’s purposes, elected to salvation and service. After Jesus ascended to the Father, God sent the Holy Spirit to empower Jesus’ disciples to carry forth God’s work of reconciliation for the entire world. The Church universal is the Body of Christ, believers joined in community to each other, as Jesus and the Spirit are one with the Father.
In the Sacrament of Baptism, we participate in Christ’s death, dying to our sin, being cleansed by the washing of his blood, and rising to new life in the family of the Christ’s Church. We baptize children in faithful recognition that God is at work within us long before we are able to respond in faith. In the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, we are drawn into the presence of God, giving thanks for Christ’s sacrifice and longing for his coming again. We are now his hands and feet, led by our Sovereign Lord. The Church is salt – different from culture. The Church is light – in the world, not hiding but fully displaying and proclaiming the glory of God. The Church is deeds – demonstrating the deep love of God for humanity, fighting evil and injustice in the power of the Spirit, exercising dominion over the earth to bring healing to our ravaged land and inviting all into new life – until Christ comes again in glory and his Kingdom is revealed in its fullness.

Until that time, we will journey on with our brothers and sisters in the faith in eager expectation of the day when the veil is lifted and we see him face to face, and kiss the wounds on his hands and feet in humble adoration. Then we, along with members from every tribe and tongue and nation, will experience pure joy, as healed and whole we stand before the throne enjoying the presence of our God and King forever.