The Story We Believe—The Story We Live
We are called Christians because we center our lives around a person who was often referred to as the Christ. His name was Jesus. He was born two thousand years ago in a remote little town in the backwaters of the Roman Empire. His life was exceptional in every way, but his legacy centers on the events of the weekend he was condemned, tortured, and executed as a criminal. The events of that weekend changed the world forever. But the best news of all came on Sunday morning from a few frightened women. The shockwaves of their news quickly spread across the Empire and radically changed the lives of millions of people. What was so important about this man Jesus? Why would a seemingly simple execution lead to global revolution? To answer that question, we are going to have to go back to the beginning.
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” (Gen 1:1)
These are the first words of our Bible. But even before creation, there was a reality that stretched back into eternity past—the three-personed community of love that we call the Trinity. This Three-personed Community of Love began to expand that community with a new creation—humanity. And so God created the heavens and the earth with humankind as His crowning achievement. He created humans in His own image—the image of the Divine Community of Love. Humans were intentionally designed to enjoy intimacy with God and with other humans, but even though the first humans were able to walk and talk with God, they neither understood God nor trusted God. They enjoyed proximity with God but they could not enjoy true unity with God. And so even before sin entered the world, there already existed a divine/human barrier that had to be overcome before God’s desired divine/human community could be achieved. The Garden of Eden isn’t perfect, but it serves as the perfect beginning for the unfolding story of God.
Because of the distrust and misunderstanding, humans had toward God, they allowed the advice of a snake to steer them into the first disobedience that gave birth to the two most formidable enemies of loving community: shame and death. The world quickly spun out of control, and what was once beautiful and pleasant became filled with ugliness and pain.
Out of this chaos, God chose Abram to be an instrument of blessing and peace for the world. He was promised that through his offspring, all the world would be blessed. Abraham’s family continually failed to live up to their calling. Rather than being a blessing, they were often found to be conspirators with the forces of evil.
When the time was right, God did something brand new—He became human! The second person of the Trinity, the one the world would come to know as Jesus, entered the womb of a faithful girl and was born into the midst of this world of suffering and death. Rather than remain above the fray and let us suffer the consequences of the mess we had made, the Creator of the Universe became an infant—vulnerable to disease and dependent on others for survival. Fully divine and fully human, Jesus became the first person in history to overcome the divine/human barrier. He was the first human to understand and trust the mind of God. When Jesus was thirty years old, he was met by the Father and the Spirit in the waters of baptism and thus brought his own humanity into full participation in the Three-personed Community of God. The Community that had always included the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, now included humanity in the person of Jesus Christ.
After being baptized, Jesus followed the guidance of the Holy Spirit as he showed everyone the true nature of God. He loved the unlovable, forgave freely, welcomed the poor, healed the sick, injured, and deformed. He exercised power over nature, over demons and over death itself. All the while, he continually proclaimed the coming of the Kingdom of God and the true meaning of living life to the full. The true light had come into the world, but those who had grown comfortable with the darkness despised the light because it exposed them for the frauds they were. With single-minded determination, the powers of evil poured all their efforts into extinguishing this light. And so, on that fateful weekend, Jesus was tortured, executed on a cross, and buried in sealed tomb.
Shell-shocked and heart-broken, Jesus’ friends went into hiding and wondered how it had all come to this. They had heard his teaching, they had seen the miracles, they had witnessed the power that was so clearly seen in their friend and leader. They were lost.
But then the women come racing in with their bizarre news—Jesus was no longer in the tomb! Before they could make any sense of this new development, Jesus showed up! Jesus—the one who was crucified, the one who was buried, the one who had taken all their hopes and dreams with him to the grave—Jesus stood before them as clear as day. He ate with them, he drank with them, and he explained to them why everything had happened the way it did. His condemnation pronounced forgiveness for all. His rejection promised reconciliation for all. His death demonstrated God’s unlimited love for all. His burial tells us that God is present even in the darkness of despair. And through his resurrection, he drove the final nail in the Death’s coffin. He took all our sin and shame and left it in the tomb. He was raised to a new life so that through him, all humanity may enjoy the life we were always intended to live.
Because of Jesus, the Divine Community of Love is now open to all who place their faith in Him. Anyone who is baptized into the waters of baptism is born into the Community of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This new community of divine humans is what we call the Church. The Church is often called the Body of Christ because every member who is joined to Christ is also joined to all the other members of the Body. Just as the body takes its cues from the head, so the Body of Christ lives and moves and finds its identity in the headship of Christ. Just as the blood of a body both nourishes and cleanses each cell, we too enjoy the nourishment and cleansing of Christ’s blood. When we gather as Christ’s Body, we celebrate this reality by eating bread (which is Christ’s body) and drinking wine or grape juice (which is Christ’s blood). We believe Christ meets us in this event as he continues to form us into a greater likeness of his image.
As Christ’s Body, we continue his work of reconciling the world to God through Christ. We will continue to be agents of blessing and peace to a broken and restless world until that day when Christ comes again, every wrong is made right, and the New Heaven and the New Earth are revealed.
It’s because of these beliefs that we share this mission: “To glorify God by obeying His will, loving and encouraging one another, serving others as if serving Christ, proclaiming His Word; offering authentic worship in all we do.”
We hope that you will join us as we work to see His Kingdom come and His will done.