This past week I have been meeting with folks who have indicated their desire to become members of the United church of Canada. It has been fascinating and wonderful! The age of these people covers a wide range beginning at age 9 and stretching into late 60’s. Each person comes to this place having travelled a different road and brings a variety of life experiences. Some are very new to the United Church and others have actually been worshiping in a United Church for a number of years so the conversations with each has taken a different path as well.
How Does One Distill Beliefs
Talking about and conveying what we believe is not always easy. For me, part of the challenge is …
How does one distill beliefs down into a few conversations when the process of getting where we are has taken a life time and is still ongoing?
How do I effectively communicate what the United church is and what we believe, because in one sense we are not uniform but allow space for people to explore their own spiritual journeys?
However, with some of these challenges before me I have tried to share my understandings and open the space up for each person to explore what they needed to.
Flood Gates Opened
Last night I met with the younger of the group and I must say this was one of the most powerful moments of sacred that I have experienced in a while. We began the conversation with some of the basics that we say we believe – God, Jesus, Holy Spirit. We talked about some of what the United Church says about social justice and environmental issues and human rights. Then I inquired if they had any questions. This was when the flood gates opened –
- Who wrote the bible?
- How do we know it’s true?
- How did God create trees?
- What is heaven?
- What is Hell?
- How do we know that what is written in the bible really happened?
- Did it really happen?
- What are angels?
- How was the world created?
- All the people who wrote the stories are long dead, why should we believe what they wrote? Maybe they are just stories!!!
- With all the different interpretations of the Bible how do we know that some things have not been changed?
- Do we have spirit guides?
…… And the questions came for close to two hours and we talked about all of it! I found myself talking about history, theology, archeology, language, interpretation, the difference between literal and figurative, and that just scratched the surface! At the end of our time we had come full circle and the question was asked of them –
So are you able to say that you believe in God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit?
The response was quick and matter of fact –
The other piece of this conversation that astounded me was how well the 9 year old was able to express her desire to join the church and how deep her insights were into why First United, in particular, is her choice. Simply put she said
“Here I am free to be whoever I want to be. It doesn’t matter what I wear, if I walk or run, what I look like, no one gets mad. I am accepted and loved”
The United Church of Canada – What We Believe
Then this morning as I opened facebook the first thing I saw was a link titled “Welcome to the United church of Canada” I invite you to watch it. To learn more about the United Church of Canada and what we believe, click on the link.
“God is Holy Mystery, beyond complete knowledge, above perfect description…. Nothing exists that does not find its source in God.” (A Song of Faith)
© 2018 Rev. Valerie Peyton Kingsbury. All Rights Reserved.