Is it easy to say what you believe? I bet we all have differing views, yet when it comes to the Christian faith there would be much that would overlap for us. For instance, in the prayer books there are creeds – statements about the Christian faith – that most of us would adhere to.
On the All Souls’ website we have:
“All Souls Sandringham is an Anglican church. We believe in God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We believe that Jesus Christ gives us the gift of life through his death on the cross and resurrection. This gift is given through faith in Jesus and lived out in community guided by the word of God.”
Then we go on to our focus “Together we go, grow and live in Jesus’ love.” Hopefully this will keep us motivated in our year of outreach.
It is interesting to go to Anglican sites to see what is listed. The Anglican Church of Australia lists the creeds. Go to Anglican Church of Australia, About Us, then What we believe?
On the other hand, if you go to the Church of England, then Our Faith, you will find What we believe? Presented very differently. It is worth checking out both sites.
The important thing is for us to know what we believe. Despite years of reciting creeds very often Anglicans get tongue-tied when asked to explain their beliefs. Spend some time looking at the creeds and ponder how you would explain to somebody the basis of your faith. Use your own words. Your words will be the most convincing, not the religious rhythm of the creeds.
Give the matter some thought and prayer.
Here we are in Lent, which began last Wednesday, Ash Wednesday, and ends approximately six weeks later at Easter. It provides us with a time to reflect on certain Christian disciplines, which were highlighted on Ash Wednesday, namely Prayer, Giving (or works of love, as mentioned above) and Fasting. The absence of flowers is a sign that Lent has commenced.
Lent is traditionally described as lasting for 40 days, in commemoration of the 40 days Jesus spent fasting in the desert, according to the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, before beginning his public ministry, during which he endured various temptations.
How might you observe the three disciplines mentioned?
Prayer – can you commit to daily prayer times or decide that church attendance will be weekly or twice a week during Lent?
Giving or Works of Love – when we think of the giving of the Lord Jesus we are reminded that there is much we can do to imitate him. Perhaps six weekly gifts to a mission agency or a charity of your choice.
Fasting – this can heighten prayer times for us. Some Christians give up certain luxuries in order to replicate the sacrifice of Jesus Christ's journey into the desert for 40 days. Personally, I’ve never found giving up chocolate to be a serious sacrifice. What might I give up that would hurt and be a reminder of Jesus suffering?
Many Christians also add a Lenten spiritual discipline, such as reading a daily devotional or praying through a Lenten calendar, to draw themselves near to God. Hence, I commend the Lenten study groups to you.
May this Lent be a time of deep reflection for you and may you be drawn ever closer to the Lord Jesus.