God is a loving and creative being, a caring companion and compassionate fellow traveler. As a creative source, God gifts us with the abilities to feel, perceive, experience, tell and re-tell events in life both good and bad. God has created us to tell the story of God’s love for us and for the world.
Jesus as Lord and Savior
God’s love is revealed to us in Jesus – in his early life, baptism, ministry, death and resurrection. Jesus is my example of what it means to live a Godly life – to put others ahead of myself and to view my circumstances, the world around me and the people I come in contact with through the lens of God’s love, looking at others with God’s eyes. Jesus is my savior because he took my sin into himself and became separated from God by my sin, so that I wouldn’t have to experience that separation. Jesus is my lord because it’s the only way I can find to respond to that kind of love. Jesus as lord means that my life needs to be lived in a way that makes me a better follower of Jesus every day.
My salvation comes from Jesus – his death on the cross because of my sin, and his resurrection from death because of God’s power.
Suffering and a Loving God
I believe that God is always loving. God is always loving even when the world is not always perfect.
I think that when we suffer, pain and hope fight for a place in our lives and a loving and merciful God is there to hold these two things together in his care, and make space for creative ways for suffering and hope to happen at the same time. And I think that when we suffer, God suffers with us, and travels with us through the pain to lead us to the hope.
The church’s role in responding to suffering is to become the presence of Christ to the sufferer. Not to have all the answers – sometimes our job is just to sit in the ashes of their suffering, like Job’s three friends. We share the burden of carrying the raw emotions, hopes and sorrows, dreams and realities, harsh presents and imagined futures – the tensions of a life that at this moment does not make sense.
By the grace of a loving God – our presence in another’s suffering creates peace and provides comfort, reminding each of us that God is always with us.
Grace is the mercy of God to all of us, though none of us deserve it. It is a gift, freely given by God, which can’t be earned by us, however though grace is ours to receive it is also ours to share. Grace in my life has meant that even when I go through a dry spiritual place, or when I make a mistake, or when I make a snap judgment of someone or make an impulsive decision, God’s mercy is there to pick me up, remind me that I’m not alone, or remind me that everyone is a child of God, who is loved by God and needs to be loved by me as well.
I’ve been given grace by my sisters when we’ve had fallouts, and I gave grace when I chose to let go of the anger I had toward my fourth grade teacher.
Baptism and Communion
My baptism was a surrender of my life and my way, to God’s service. It was a symbolic burying of my old life and cleansing from sin that separates me from God, and being re-born into a new life with Christ’s leading and guidance.
Communion is a time when I reflect on Christ’s love and sacrifice, like a renewal of the commitment I made the day I was baptized. It’s a reminder of the pain Christ took on because he loved me, and a symbol of the hope I live with, that Jesus promised to return for me, and that one day we will all share in a communion together.