In preparation for a worship series this fall inspired by the NPR series This I Believe, I've been thinking a lot about my faith and how it has evolved over the past 9 years since my ordination. Here's where I am now:
I believe that God is bigger and yet closer than we will ever understand. Our attempts to get a grasp on who God is sometimes results in us making God in our image and limits the vastness of God, or neglects the intimacy God shares with us.
I believe God is Love, and is, by nature, welcoming to all. I believe God loves us all as God's dearly beloved creation, and seeks relationships with us, calling us to become children of God.
I believe that Jesus is the incarnation of God, the greatest example of that Love and the steps that God takes to be present with us. Jesus was divine and human. As he lived on earth, he was an example to us on how to live in relationship with God and with others through his radical hospitality and compassion, as he also fiercely challenged the religious systems and leaders of his day, a challenge that still echos today. In his sacrificial death, he showed us the extent of God's love, the forgiveness of our sins, and the hope of eternal life. His invitation was simply, "Follow me", and he pointed to the greatest commandments: "Love God. Love one another".
I believe the Gospel is the good news that God continues to reach out and embrace us, broken and sinful though we are. Through the many sources of God's revelation and presence (God's Word, the prophets, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and our personal and communal experiences and relationship), God calls us to be reconciled and connected to the Love that is always present for all those who seek it.
I believe that we each have unique gifts to share as the body of Christ and as God's creations, and our diversity is a strength. We serve in different ways but towards the same purpose. When we listen to one another, we understand how we are united in our common mission, and how our similarities far outweigh our differences. When we serve one another out of respect, we learn more about the greatness of God.
I believe that we are given the freedom to seek God (or not), and that we are all created with a desire to seek meaning and purpose that comes from our innate connection to the Divine. Our own creativity and gifts are part of that Divine spark, and our passions and gifts point us to our calling. We discover our vocation as we find what makes us feel more alive, and how we can use our skills to serve others.
I believe that we each have the freedom and the understand and interpret God's revelation to us through our reading of scripture, prayer, and the experiences we've been given. I believe that faith is deeply personal, but is also meant to be lived out in community so that we can find support and boundaries as we live out the command to love our neighbors as ourselves. I believe that we are all neighbors, and have the God-given responsibility to love and care for one another, in spite of our differences.
I believe that I don't have all the answers and my beliefs may not all be "correct", but growing in faith is a journey that continues throughout our lives as God is continually revealed to us in new ways. I will never have it all figured out, and I pray that I will never believe that I do. I believe that God is revealed to others in different ways and that doesn't necessarily make them wrong or right, but gives us another framework in which to think about God.
I believe that people are lead to faith not through arguments or condemnation, but through relationships of mutual sharing, understanding, and love. I believe that faith is a relationship with God, but also concerns how we live in relationship with others. I believe that it is a commitment that requires community.
I believe that God is in all things if we have the eyes to see.
I believe because God's love has been my comfort, my hope, and my salvation, and the only thing that has gotten me through the most difficult points in my life, as well as the source of my greatest blessings.