What We Believe
“What we believe” sections are usually full of bullet points and read somewhat like an owner’s manual. Unfortunately most of our lives don’t look anything like that. Sure our lives are filled with facts and figures, dates and times; but we have to write all those down to remember them. The important stuff we don’t need to write down. What we love, what we hate, what we fear, our biggest hopes—we don’t keep those in palm pilots or calendars or cool cell phones. We live in stories, not bullet points. At Trinity United Methodist Church we place our hope and belief in the story presented in the Bible; a story into which God invites us to live. If, after reading this story of our beliefs, you would like a more “traditional” list of beliefs, we invite you to read about the historic doctrines of the United Methodist Church.
We believe that an imaginative, amazing God created the earth and all of the beauty encompassed by nature and the universe around us. This creative activity occurred through God’s spoken word, revealing the power and holiness of language and communication. We’d rather use that gift of language to enjoy the beauty around us than argue about how exactly it happened. After creating the planet we live on and all that we see around us, including the stars in the heaven, the grass beneath our feet and the animals by our sides, God created humankind. Humanity was created in God’s image, that we might always remember our Creator and model our lives after that love.
Of course, humans being humans, we do not always model that love perfectly. We mess up … we hurt one another and ourselves … and we call this sin. Sin is the betrayal of God – it is the opposite of love. Sin came into the world as soon as did humanity, and it continues to pervade our world today. Surprisingly, though, God did not turn away from humanity. Despite all of the betrayal, hurt and evil caused by humanity, God continued (and still does today) to love us and accept us as we are. This was made most evident through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Jesus lived approximately 2000 years ago in what is now the Middle East. He was a great prophet and teacher of what God was doing in and around the world. But more importantly than that, Jesus was also the son of God. In the face of betrayal by humanity, God chose to come and experience life as a human – to cross the great divide between heaven and earth – so that we might know God more fully and more intimately. Jesus’ message was one of reaching out to the poor, the oppressed, and the abandoned. Being God in the form of humanity, he miraculously cured the sick, fed the hungry, and even overcame death by bringing people who had died back to life.
Because Jesus wanted to protect the oppressed and thereby bring vitality back into the Jewish religion, he upset many people. And people, acting as they do, tortured and killed Jesus by hanging him on a wooden cross. However, the story did not end there. For, on the third day after being hung on the cross and later buried in a tomb, Jesus conquered death once more – this time by becoming resurrected himself. Through this impossible act of love, God overcame evil and forgave humanity once and for all. As a result, we can rest assured that nothing we do is beyond the forgiveness of God.
After he rose from the dead, Jesus appeared to a great number of people and ensured that his teachings would live on. These people who followed him became known as Christians, and we continue in that tradition today. Jesus eventually ascended into heaven, but not before helping his followers to experience how God lives and works through humanity every day. This is through the activity of the Holy Spirit. Thus, God is made known to us in three forms – as God in heaven who creates life, as Jesus who came to teach us about God’s love, and as the Holy Spirit who guides us to model that love today. We call these three forms the Trinity, and it is from this that we take our name for this church.
Because God continues to work through us today, and because we continue in the tradition of the first Christians by gathering together to worship and study about God, we believe the story is not over. It lives on through us, and our lives make sense only as part of that great story. Thus, we do not simply follow a set of rigid beliefs – instead we follow something larger. We follow a movement – the movement of God. And in so doing we help to reveal God’s love to the entire world.