by Lois Hunstad
I believe in God, the Father, strong and tender, the Mother, fierce and proud,
our advocate and confidante, who created us in love, and is the source of all beauty around us
who stirs the creative energy of words and song and movement and art and gardens and kindness
who nudges us to make a call, lend a hand, say a prayer, take a stand
who blesses us with crashing waves and fleeting sunsets
and dirt and rock and sand
who comes to us through the earth and its creatures, rich and beautiful and reflecting God’s goodness
who calls us to prayer through our wonder at the heron in flight
and the deep starry sky.
I believe in Jesus, our brother, born of Mary.
He came into this world like all of us, wet and shocked
and crying for comfort.
He grew and prepared.
Jesus was God made human, and his humanity was beautiful.
Jesus lived with us, and walked with us,
and tried to teach us what we could not understand–
the last shall be first, whatsoever you do, my kingdom is not of this world, do unto others,
take and eat.
Jesus was patient with us,
and impatient with us.
He loved our shared meals, and talks about God over cups of wine.
He enjoyed our company, and we were grateful for it.
He was clever and learned, and could tell a simple story and open our eyes.
He could also turn our world on its head and confuse us.
Jesus expected us to grow in our understanding, and though we often disappointed him,
he never gave up on us.
His bravery was frightening to us.
We could not convince him to consider what others might think.
At times, he was not who we wanted him to be, but we were drawn to him.
He felt our love and devotion, but often we failed him.
He suffered here.
Sometimes, Jesus needed his time away from us.
Some of us had power and status and felt threatened by Jesus,
but we were curious nonetheless.
There was something about him.
Some of us encountered Jesus, though they tried to keep us away.
He talked with us, when others wouldn’t.
He welcomed us, when others turned their backs.
He spoke up for us when we were mocked.
He healed our brokenness.
Jesus saw us, and we felt our own worth.
He touched us, and we dared to touch him.
His attention was humbling
and won der ful.
He loved us like no other.
His death was brutal, our grief profound.
After three days, he walked among us again, and reminded us to
tell the story
Before he returned to God, Jesus promised us the Holy Spirit,
the power and love of God’s creative being in us and around us.
The Spirit continues to move in our world.
I believe we are called to walk with Jesus,
and our journey on earth is to use our gifts in service to others.
I believe this is the path to peace and joy, and communion with God.
I believe our works for the poor and outcast are blessings to us,
and the longing for both justice and mercy is holy.
I believe that grief and suffering and sadness and pain are part of every human experience
and God is close in the difficult seasons.
I believe that prayer can be transformative,
capable of turning our anger to compassion,
our shame to acceptance,
our sorrow to sorrow shared,
our quiet to knowing.
I believe in prayers of petition.
I believe sometimes they are answered as we hoped
and sometimes they are not,
and we will not know why, though we will ask
I believe that God is generous with grace, that we receive gifts we don’t deserve
or haven’t asked for.
Sometimes grace is wisdom, or strength, or a softened heart.
Sometimes grace comes in a stranger’s kindness, or a pet’s affection,
or a cool drink of water.
I believe we encounter Jesus at the table, that the grace we receive there is most radically undeserved,
and is meant for every one of us.
I believe God’s love is unconditional,
that God knows our weakness and bad habits, our vanities and addictions,
but also our uniqueness and talents, our efforts and beauty.
And God embraces us wholly and completely.
I believe God shows up in our lives, over and over, and wants us to be close.
But faith is more gift than achievement, and God is gentle to those without it.
I believe in the Holy Spirit.
I believe we can encounter God in our imperfect churches.
I believe we are all connected to one another, and our world, and everything in it,
and everything beyond it, and there is something Divine in that,
and if we are lucky we get but a taste of this truth in our life.
I believe we all have ancestors with God and they will petition God on our behalf if we call on them.
I believe God forgives our sins,
and we will live in God’s love forever
if we accept the invitation. Amen.