Opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent the views of the congregation I joyfully serve. But my congregation loves me!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Statement of Faith

Our church has moved its web page, and I have lost some of my stuff. One of the things was my Statement of Faith that I had to present to my presbytery so I could serve my current church.

Statement of Faith
Who Do You Say That I Am?
John Shuck
Circa 2004

Jesus, you are a living presence in my life.
You are the Risen Christ.

You are my Comforter.
You have been there throughout my life in times of sorrow and anxiety.
You were there with me at the side of my brother through his accident.
I felt your reassurance and confidence for him and our family.
You are my mother’s prayer, my father’s wisdom, and my wife’s love.
You are the joy of my children, my friends, my congregation, and my community.

You are there as I counsel others in my ministry.
You are the words of hope and care that I do not have on my own.

You were there when I baptized a stillborn baby in the hospital.
You are there at the funerals of old friends.
You give meaning and hope to my life and to all of life.
You are the hope that in life and in death we are the Lord’s.

You are my Encouragement.
You are my source of hope when I feel discouraged.
You give me the courage to be a voice for the voiceless.
You call me to speak for others when I would rather play it safe.
You encourage me to keep on and to follow the narrow path of justice.
You are the courage to preach your kingdom.

You are my Conscience.
You point out the beam in my own eye as I worry over the speck in others.
You remind me that justice without love is harsh and cold.
You call me to love and to understand my enemies when I would rather play the victim.

You are the Victim.
When the church has marginalized others,
--when the church has executed those it has called heretics,
--when the church has denied access to your table,
--when nations do violence in your name,
You are crucified with the dying.
When I have done violence through harsh words or deeds,
You are the victim of my violence.
For that I seek forgiveness.

You are my Forgiveness.
You are the grace that nothing I have done can make you love me less.
In your grace, I have the confidence to repent and start again.
I experience this forgiveness,
As I forgive others.

You are my Advisor.
Through the counsel of wise colleagues and friends,
You make me re-evaluate my motivations.
You call me to admit hasty and insensitive decisions.
You present me with ideas and visions.
You open my imagination.

You are my Savior.
You save me from all forces that would deny my dignity.
You save me from myself, from my depression, from my addictions, from my pessimism.
You save me from distractions and false ideals.
You save me so that I may be a loved and a loving human being.

You are my Passion.
Through you I am energized with the zest for life.
You invite me to consider the lilies.
You invite me to love wastefully,
and to breathe in deeply the aroma of your creation.

You are a Mystery.
I cannot claim you.
My sisters and brothers across the planet know you by other names.
Creation itself knows you in non-human terms.
Your mystery humbles me.

You are the Truth.
You encourage me to seek and to learn.
You spur me never to be satisfied with what I know.
You constantly show yourself in unexpected places and through surprising people.

You are my Hope.
As I participate at your supper,
you give me a glimpse of a banquet
--where all are welcomed, loved and valued.
--where all have food for body and soul.
You invite me to work for a world in which all
are housed, clothed, fed, educated,
and all are able to use their gifts.
You enchant me with the realm of God.
You show me non-violence and love.
You give me a vision of the lion and lamb and fatling together.
You speak to me of humanity that has forgotten how to fight.

As I minister in your name,
You are my source of strength.
Without you I am dry and lifeless.
Without you, my efforts are empty and vain.
You are laughter.
You are pleasure.
You are my Joy.

To personalize the words of my childhood hymn...

You live, you live,
Christ Jesus lives today.
You walk with me and you talk with me
along life’s narrow way.
You live, you live,
salvation to impart.
When they ask me how I know you live,
I can only answer,
“You live within my heart.”
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