The Apostles’ Creed begins, “I believe in God the Father, Almighty” – This God is personal! Why does the creed begin this way? Wouldn’t you think you would move from the broad, generic understanding of a Creator God to the more personal definition of that God? But the church put the personal right up front. To believe in God could mean so many different things. Broadly speaking there are three different classic notions in which the relationship of God to the world has been conceived.
One is pantheism, which means, in some sense, everything is literally God. In pantheism, God is the world. The universe and God are identical. We are in God and God is in us. This is not the God of the Bible that sees God as the “Wholly other,” who initiates history and breaks into that which is His creation in unique ways. This is a kind of absorption of the universal force into its very self.
Another notion is deism, which removes God from the world altogether. In deism God is entirely transcendent, functioning above and beyond and outside of the world. In a way, this overstresses the truth that God is holy; God is separate, other, and different from God’s creation. As we have already seen, God is the “Wholly other.” But the God of the Bible sees God in relationship with His creation – not divorced from it.
And there is the notion of theism. Theism sees God as both being involved in the world, yet above and beyond the world. Theism thinks of God as both immanent and transcendent, at the same time, being in the world and yet being beyond the world, sharing our life and at the same time directing life. This is the biblical, Christian view of the relationship of God and the world. The Christian believes that God is neither contained in the world, nor divorced from the world; that God is, at one and the same time, in existence separate from His creation, yet very directly and personally involved in that creation.
When we declare, “I believe in God the Father, Almighty,” we are not making a gender statement; we are declaring that the Creator God is personal. We receive this understanding in part from the Old Testament, but not nearly as much as we learn of this from the New Testament. The Old Testament understanding of God emphasizes the sacredness of His Name when it refers to Him as Father. It is primarily in relationship to His identity as Creator. It is in the New Testament that we confront, with great frequency, the highly personal understanding of this Creator God being “our Father.”
In John’s Gospel, Jesus talks about the Father approximately 100 times. He uses an interesting word for Father. It is the Aramaic word, Abba. It literally means that God is our “intimate Father!” The Jewish community was initially offended that Jesus would talk about God in such an intimate, familiar way. For this reason, He constantly made this reference. When He taught the disciples to pray, He said, when you pray, say “Our Father.” He describes how God functions as a good father who wants the very best for His children. As Glenn Stanton suggests, “You can’t read John 17, Jesus’ intimate and passionate prayer to his Father the evening before his brutal and sacrificial death, and not see this tender intimacy.”
May we give thanks that God desires a “personal, intimate” relationship with us as our Father!!
We have several items we would like add to our church facility. If you are interested in helping with these items, any gift would be greatly appreciated!
A communion table; a baptismal font; a pulpit; a baby grand piano
Please contact Richard Jessee (our administrative assistant) by calling the church office on Tuesday or Thursday mornings if you can help with a donation: (540) 221-4370.
We will be gathering from 9:00 a.m. to Noon (or sooner!) THIS Saturday, May 29th to spruce up the outside of our building, including applying mulch. Please mark your calendars and come out to help!
ComfortCare Women’s Health
We received word that: “The grand total raised by Staunton/Augusta & Lexington/Rockbridge area churches was over $95,000 (in the Baby Bottle campaign). Hope Community Church raised a total of $794.95!”
My Offering is a CD with beautiful piano hymns. This CD is available and can be yours for a contribution to our building fund. We are grateful to Loretta Watkins for recording this music and making these CDs available!
Pastor Glen’s message this Sunday is “One in Three,” based upon John 16:12-15. Please read this text in preparation for worship!
We will also celebrate the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. We encourage you to examine yourself before receiving the Sacrament per 1 Corinthians 11:27-32.
An offering plate is available when you enter the sanctuary. Additionally, online giving opportunities are available on the website.
We are pleased to offer a nursery for children through pre-school. The nursery is in the Sunday school area, and there is a check-in area at the door of the nursery.
Mike Adams (6/1); Betty Mahanes and Lynn Scott (6/3); Grace King (6/4); Emma Adams (6/5); Jennifer Lucas (6/16); Kim Holman (6/17); Paige Holder (6/24)