Summary: 1 Peter 3:15 "Always be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope you have within you"
I believe that you are of immense and infinite value. God made you in his own image and he adores you. Even though, like me and everyone else, there will be parts of your life you have made a mess of, God doesn’t leave you there. I believe God will lead you to become the you you are meant to be.
I believe in second chances, third chances, and seventy seventh chances. I believe that Jesus never gives up on us and that is why he took all the penalty for our wrong doing on himself on himself on the cross. Forgiveness is not free. It is very costly: but Jesus paid the cost so we don’t have to. That forgiveness is available to all who are truly sorry and all we have to do is ask, whether we ask silently or out loud. Confessing our sins out loud in the presence of a priest is a powerful way of being honest with ourselves and with God about our failings. Hearing God tell us out loud through the mouth of a priest that we are forgiven is amazing. We have a God who gives the second chance or the seventy seventh chance even if no one else will. And that is why I must give that same second or even seventy seventh chance to other people.
I believe in bodies. I am not a mind floating around in space but a person with a body. I believe GK Chesterton was right that Christianity is the most materialistic of all religions. God made the physical world, "and behold it was good". When the world was damaged because of human sinfulness, God loved the world enough to come himself born as a human baby whose nappies needed changing. He lived among us, experiencing all that it means to be human. He showed his love to the unloved by by touching lepers and dining with sex-workers. He died bodily on the cross to put it all right, rose bodily from the dead and was taken up bodily into heaven. He continues to hug us with his love: not simply telling us from a distance that he loves us but physically touching us with his presence and love in the Bread and Wine of communion. I believe that at the end of time this world shall be taken into the next and all things will be made new in a new creation that is not less physical than this life but more so. That is why I will express myself physically to worship God, using every sense to praise him. That is why I will care for my neighbour not just for their spiritual needs but for their physical needs. I do not accept a distinction between the two.
I believe God does not sit on a distant throne in heaven but is active in our world today. I believe he spoke through the bible and speaks today through his Holy Spirit. What is more, I believe God has spoken in every century in between and the wisdom he spoke through our ancestors is still stuff we can learn from today. I believe I have a God who listens and that is why I speak to him in prayer.
I believe the Church is a family, especially a family for those whose human experience of family is less than is to be desired, but that it is family for everyone. I believe that is why it is so important for us to meet together both on Sunday in church and midweek in smaller groups. I believe in asking my family members to pray for me just as I pray for them. I believe in life after death. So I don’t stop asking my church family to pray for me just because they are now with Jesus rather than on earth. That is what family is there for. I believe that family began at the foot of the cross when Jesus said to the beloved Disciple: “Behold your mother”. And so amongst all the other Christians I have praying for me, I also ask Mother Mary. In our lonely world it is great to know that I am never alone because I am part of a family - here in this Church, across the world, and that stretches into heaven. Thank you Father God.
I am so blessed to have all the good things that I have. God has given us in this country wealth that people down history, and people in many parts of the world, would think of as untold luxury. All of us in this country are so blessed. I am so blessed. All of this is God’s and it is him that has given it to us. That is why I will give back to him a tithe, a tenth of all He gives me. He has also given me gifts and talents and skills, and I will use them to serve God.