Tuesday, March 15, 2016

I am a Christian

The Apostle's Creed sums up the Christian belief.
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again.
He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Holy Catholic Church, *
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.

*To avoid a sticky point on this, I believe “Catholic” refers to the Merriam-Websterdefinition meaning “of, relating to, or forming the church universal” instead of the Roman Catholic church.

There's an even nicer song about Christian beliefs sung by Hillsong Worship.

I think there is a life beyond this pale plane of existence, something possibly brighter and more wonderful than my mind can fathom. People in my past have pitied me because of such a parochial view. After all, I'm an engineer, a scientist. Surely I cannot fall for the tall tales of an ancient and dusty religion.

Yet I do believe in God the Almighty, His son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. In a way that I cannot wrap my mind around, these three are one entity. I pondered that for many years, and I will in the future. Just because I cannot explain something doesn't make it untrue. There is a lot in my religion I cannot explain.

I choose to believe. 

Sometimes we have to choose to believe things, even though they might not be true, but because they should be true. Might doesn't make right. Good always defeats evil. People have good hearts. Love conquers all.

In the case of God's existence I sincerely believe it is true.

In my case I have a personal and ongoing relationship with a living Jesus Christ. Too many stories in my life are only explained by His holy presence and intervention. Ask me about them sometime.

Of course, since I believe in Heaven (and angels), I also believe in Hell (and demons). I don't think Hell is in the center of the Earth. I do think it is an eternal separation from the God that I worship. To me, that brings visions of eternal loneliness and pain.

This is true of most Christians. (I don't know all Christians; I might be wrong.)

Because Christians feel this way, they are concerned about the people they love. After all, since there is a choice between a joyful and happy eternity or a miserable one, we want the people we love to go to the happy one. This is why Christians talk about their faith.

However, to my fellow Christians, remember the story of Jesus and the rich young ruler in Mark 10:17-22 (KJV).

And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, "Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?" And Jesus said unto him, "Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God. Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother." And he answered and said unto him, "Master, all these have I observed from my youth." Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, "One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me." And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.

Jesus looked on the young ruler and loved him, as God loves everyone on the planet (hard for me to fathom) and as we are called to love everyone (hard for me to do). However, when the young man walked away Jesus did not yell after him and did not chase him down. Jesus let him walk away.

I grew up with a great love for Saint Francis of Assisi. If I might paraphrase, he once told his followers that they were to go to town and preach the Gospel (the Good News), and if necessary, use words.

My fellow Christians, it is your actions that tell how wonderful a personal relationship with the living Christ is on this earth. Then when people ask why you're so happy, tell them. If they listen and choose Heaven – rejoice. If they do not, let them walk away. Remember, that was once you.

It is God who prompts the hearts of men and women to follow Him. Pray, unceasing. Love your neighbor.

We are called to do so.

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