To write a personal “statement of faith” is an exciting task. The act of writing such a statement is like stopping a dance in mid-step. From the static picture we can get a sense of what has come before, and what is yet to arrive, but little of the constant movement that gives the dance life.
With that caveat, here is my personal Statement of Faith: a snapshot of who I understand God and me and us to be in this moment. (I first wrote this in 2006, as I opened myself to the possibilities of Call with another United Church pastoral charge. With some small edits over the past five years, it still speaks to me.)
I believe in God, who created all that is. Through the act of creation, God celebrated, and continues to celebrate, life. I believe that God, while separate from what has been created, is intimately connected with it – entwined in such a way that makes it impossible to take one away from the other. Because of this relationship, both the creation and the Creator are in a place of constant movement and exploration. The intimacy of that relationship works to make all things, all places and all beings sacred.
As human beings we are an important part of the creation. In our creativity, our curiosity and our cognition, as well as a variety of other God-given attributes, we have the ability to knowingly participate in God’s yearnings and actions. We constantly make choices that affect our lives and the lives of those connected to us – individuals we know, individuals we don’t know (human and other) and God. At times, our individual or corporate choices create injustice, causing unnecessary pain and imbalance. We work against our responsibility as children of God and disciples of Christ to “love God with all our heart, mind and soul” and “to love our neighbours as we love ourselves”. As a disciple of Christ, I am called to think carefully about the consequences of my decisions. I am also called to be open with God about my failings and faults. Through such openness to the Spirit, God might continue to grant me wisdom, strength and compassion. Having received God’s grace and love, I work even harder to align myself with God’s desire.
As part of the ongoing development of relationship with creation and humankind, the “Word became flesh” in both a mysterious and a tangible way. Through, with and in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, the Word lived with us, offering us ways to be in deeper relationship with God – as well as experiencing the joys and sorrows of human life, first hand.
Through the continuing gift of the Spirit, individuals work to be faithful to God’s call. Sometimes we do that alone. At times we gather with other Christians, working together. Other times the Spirit calls us to work with people who believe differently than we do; that we might better understand each other; that we might better understand God; and that we might work to bring healing and wholeness to God’s creation.
I believe that the Church is a human institution, finding both its strength and its weakness in its attempts to move in accord with the Holy Spirit. Sometimes our collective dance is filled with a great deal of beauty and grace. At other times we find ourselves out-of-step with each other and with God. Part of the church’s saving grace is that it is willing to recognize its missteps and work to change. It’s other saving grace is God’s readiness to forgive and continue in relationship with all of us.