One of the many, many documents of self-disclosure which we are required to produce in the ordination process is a short statement of faith. There are no rubrics; we have to pick up the guidelines via oral tradition among seminarians. The final version goes onto the computerized forms that become the dossier sent to churches during the search process, so there is a limit on the number of characters, and that limit ultimately controls all.
The following is what's gone out to the Presbytery, and what I'll be reading aloud on Saturday:
I believe in our Trinitarian God: a loving Creator who seeks always to recreate us, the Son Jesus Christ who seeks to reconcile us to our Creator, and the Holy Spirit who through Creator and Son gathers us into the unfolding Reign of God, all united as three persons in one God of infinite relationship.
At the center of my faith is Jesus Christ, divine and human, present from before creation and into eternity as the Word of God, who was born as a human being into human history, died as the reconciler of our broken selves to our God, and was resurrected and ascended in victory over the power of sin and death. He stands as mediator between us and God, representing the divinity of God to us and representing our humanity to God. He is the constant companion and friend who serves as our guide and example, as the healer of our broken lives, and as “the pioneer of our faith” in demonstrating how to live in a manner faithful to God’s call and love.
Jesus knows the Creator God as his Father and invites us to the same shared life and intimacy. Always on the move, God creates and recreates, labors to bring the universe into reconciliation with God’s original plan of generosity and justice, and seeks us in all places, from our damaged and tattered garden into the depths of Sheol. God is a generous and loving parent who nourishes and tends us with unfailing grace. God is a God of infinite mercy who speaks to us through creation, through the prophets, and by the gift of the Son through whom God offers God’s complete self-donation to us and through whom we are returned as gift to God.
The Holy Spirit is a quiet, humble, and nurturing presence as well as a presence of powerful connection, through whom the Trinity is united in relationship among its three persons and to all of us. The Spirit is always at work, both when we are attentive to the self-communication of God and when we are preoccupied and in need of that supportive presence.
I believe that our Holy Scripture provides us with a narrative of God’s activity in history as we know it, and that the church is God’s creation, called into being by Jesus Christ and animated by the Holy Spirit. It is the body into which we are invited in order to be shaped into God’s community and from which we go forth to share God’s grace-filled message of hope and hospitality toward all. The church is the community through which God offers God’s sacramental gifts of Baptism and The Lord’s Supper, gifts which identify us as God’s own people, bring us into covenant with God and with one another, and nourish us for lives offered to God in love and in service.
I believe that God can be found in all things. God’s life, activity, creativity and grace is always present to us in Scripture, in creation, in our relationships and endeavors, and in our prayer. Our lives are a constant unfolding of God’s care for and relationship with us.