The second statement is described as follows (warning, mine is very long for the moment):
(2) a statement of personal faith which incorporates an understanding of the Reformed tradition;
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the eternal witness to God and the manifest presence of God.
She is the Spirit which rippled over the waters of the void at creation, the fire in the bush which burned but did not consume, the presence on Mount Sinai in cloud and fire and over the Ark of the Covenant in the wilderness and in the tabernacle; she is the fire in the hearts of the prophets, inspiring them to speak of God’s judgment in the world around them and granting them visions of God’s triumph over evil; she is the dove who proclaimed Jesus to be God’s son, and is the wind and fire of Pentecost which burns in us still.
She is the substance of our shared love as the Body of Christ and the sinew which binds us together. By the power of the Holy Spirit we are made new creations and are born again through faith in Jesus Christ. It is the Holy Spirit who testifies to the truth of God’s revelation, and through the Holy Spirit God is present with us until the end when creation is renewed.
It is the Holy Spirit which empowers us to live into our calling as the people of God, loving ourselves, our neighbors and our enemies, proclaiming the good news to all people, and living a life of faithfulness and hope.
I believe in Jesus Christ, the only begotten son of God, fully human and fully divine.
Born of Mary, child of Nazareth, he was baptized by John, tested in the wilderness, and preached the gospel to the people he met. In his table-fellowship, he broke down barriers which separate us and gave those around him a foretaste of the coming feast of the kingdom of God. In his preaching and teaching, he taught of himself and of God, calling those who heard him to faith and obedience, to courage and sacrifice, to love and to justice. He challenged every idol, calling everyone to the God of truth. In his healing he showed God’s love for and presence with those who suffer sickness and pain, and demonstrated God’s power to heal a broken world.
In the end he was betrayed to the authorities of Jerusalem who tried and convicted him, and he was sentenced to death. In full obedience to God’s purpose he was crucified, died, and was buried. On the third day he rose again, having shattered death and ended its dominion. In his resurrection he demonstrated God’s final judgment over the powers of sin and death, that they are not the last word. He gave substance to our hope for eternal life as the firstborn among the dead, and proved that no power in the world is sufficient to separate us from God.
Christ returned to the throne of God and is alive eternally, the head of the Church which is his body, and he is still breaking barriers between us, still giving a foretaste of the kingdom, still calling to faith and obedience, still overturning idols, still healing, and still the source of eternal life. This same Christ was with God before the foundation of the world, and will be with God after the end has come. It is through Christ that we learn most surely who God is.
I believe in God, the creator of all that is, seen and unseen.
By God’s Word the world took shape, the waters and the sky and the land and all that lives and moves within them, and by whose hands the first human being was made, and separated into man and woman. God created human beings for life in the Garden, but through our disobedience death entered us, and we left the Garden to live in a world of toil and struggle and injustice.
Yet even in our failure God claims us and seeks to be with us. Through covenants God has relationship with us and makes clear God’s intent for us. Through every epoch of time God remains present and faithful in love and justice, yet we eternally fall short. Yet it is because of God’s mercy and love that we have hope.
God did not cease to create but is yet creating, and God’s creating will not cease until God’s purpose for creation is fulfilled for all time. Because of this, because of what we know of the presence of God in the Holy Spirit, and what we know of the nature of God in Jesus Christ, we know that despite our failings God is with us and God is for us, that God redeems us and loves us, and that is, and will be, triumphant.
I believe that we, the Church particular and universal, are the people of God.
As the people of God, it is our privilege first to be faithful, to put not merely our assent but our existential trust in God and God’s design for us, resting in God’s faithfulness and love. It is our privilege, again, to be obedient, to search out God’s purpose for our lives and live into it, to make every effort to live into God’s calling for human life which we find most clearly revealed in the life of Jesus Christ. It is our privilege, third, to be joyful, to live in the knowledge that we are eternally loved and never alone, that we are the people of a loving and merciful God. In this joy and gratitude we respond with worship, with praise and thanks for God whose power saves. It is our privilege, fourth, to be courageous, knowing that we are uplifted and watched over by a gracious God, we can go into the world as bold witnesses, living into our calling without fear because God is with us. It is our privilege, finally, to be loving. In the grandiose and extravagant love that God shows for us in all that God does and says, we are filled with love and become instruments of love in the world around us.
We are to be shameless and fearless lovers, reckless and sacrificial lovers, because we are bound and uplifted and animated and empowered by a love that is boundless and incomprehensible, a love whose power is absolute and irresistible, a love upon which the entire cosmos depends for its existence. It is in this love that we learn who we are, whose we are, and what we are here for. May the final fulfillment of this love come soon.