Friday October 2, 2009
Good morning friends. As I write this there is anxiety in the Ellis house. In a couple hours we will have an ultrasound to see if our unborn child is completely healthy or if there is cause for concern. We found out Wed. that their may be cause for concern. We’ll let you know what we find out.
Now I know that the scripture in Matthew 6 tells us not to be anxious. I KNOW that Jesus is in control. I also KNOW that I am oh so human. My humanity is why I NEED Jesus. It is why I cling to the answer to the first question of the Heidelberg Catechism. Before I share it with you, let me give you a little background about confessions (and myself).
I am not “Presbyterian” because I was raised that way – I was not. I am not even one who cares too much about denominations. I have excellent friends all over the denominational map. My favorite experiences in faith have been at non-denominational events and conferences. All that to say I’m not married to a denomination but to Jesus Christ.
HOWEVER, having said that, I do believe Presbyterians have the best systems. ALSO, we have the best stated beliefs and interpretations of scripture. I tell you all of this about me personally so you will understand why I so often refer to “the confessions.”
Along with scripture, our church, PC(USA), is governed by a Constitution and that Constitution is made up of 2 parts. Part 1 is the Book of Confessions. Part 2 is the Book of Order.
You might be wondering “What is the book of confessions?” From the book itself we read:
“To confess means openly to affirm, declare, acknowledge or take a stand for what one believes to be true. The truth that is confessed may include the admission of sin and guilt but is more
than that. When Christians make a confession, they say, “This is what we most assuredly believe, regardless of what others may believe and regardless of the opposition, rejection, or persecution that may come to us for taking this stand.”
“On the one hand, all Christians are by definition people who confess their faith— people who make their own the earliest Christian confession: “Jesus Christ is Lord.” The Christian church, called and held together by Jesus Christ himself, lives
only through the continual renewal of this fundamental confession of faith that all Christians and Christian bodies make together. On the other hand, a confession of faith is an officially adopted statement that spells out a church’s understanding of the meaning and implications of the one basic confession of the lordship of Christ.”
Included in our Book of Confessions is the Heidelberg Catechism. Completed in 1562 the Heidelberg Catechism was written primarily to be a document upon which both the “Reformed” and the “Lutheran” believers in Christ could agree. You can read the catechism in its entirety at http://www.pcusa.org/oga/publications/boc.pdf .
The reason I bring all of this to your attention is because in the anxiety of our life today we take immense joy and peace in the following question and answer:
Q. What is your only comfort in life and in death?
A. That I am not my own, but belong body and soul, in life and in death to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ. Christ has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood, and has set me free from all the power of the devil. He also watches over me in such a way that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven; in fact, all things must work together for my salvation. Because I belong to him, Christ, by his Holy Spirit assures me of eternal life and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for him.
I encourage you today to take comfort in the fact that as a believer in Jesus Christ you belong to HIM – NO MATTER WHAT! In all the many anxieties of life today may you and I boldly confess that Jesus is Lord and we belong to Him!
Rejoicing in Christ,