This past Sunday we celebrated our youth -- and the ministry of The Rev. Janet Legro. Our church rocked. I am so incredibly proud of our teens and their leaders, and I am especially grateful to Jonathan Schyner for organizing the worship and all he has given to our young people, and to Janet for her leadership and hard work. She is stepping down at the end of the school year but will stay among us to share her inspiration, energy and wisdom.
For the sermon on Sunday, our youth shared with us statements of faith that they wrote this past year. I am sharing all of these statements with you, and I hope you will take the time to read them. Maybe these will inspire you to write your own?
I believe in the goodness of mankind.
I believe that God is present in all people, whether they believe in Him or not.
I believe in the ability and desire of people to do the right thing, given the chance.
I believe in the possibility of world peace.
I believe that God has His greatest presence in the untouched beauty of nature.
I believe that everything created by God is holy. This I believe.
I Believe God is a spirit that guides us, noticed and unnoticed, praised and not praised - a shadow in our life.
I believe we are all God’s children and no matter what sins we bear, we are always pure in his eyes.
God is described in scripture, but is unique to each individual.
He helps us in different ways and we show our faith in different ways, but through God we are connected.
This I believe.
I believe in the energy and light that comes from the sun, that warms the skin and puts a smile on my face; the sun, which brings a new season and a promise of long days and happy memories. Much like the light from the sun I believe in the love from God.
Walking outside in the sunlight brings feelings of joy and when eyes and hearts are opened, God's love can be felt. I believe that we can go through life taking things for granted until God's love sparks in one person and spreads to others. Love is what binds us altogether and is the source of unity between all people.
I believe that two of the greatest feelings are giving love and receiving it. Spreading love and lending a hand are what makes the world turn round. I believe in making goals and having the will power and faith to achieve them. With faith, one has the ability to give love and share light and happiness.
This I believe.
I believe that in life, everyone deserves a second chance. Nobody is perfect, and so everybody makes countless mistakes as they live each day. Not one person on the planet can escape the fact that mistakes are always made, and so because of this, everybody has the right to a second chance. On the other hand, nobody has the right to deny another person a second chance either, or else take away their own right to another chance.
In Christianity, Jesus teaches everybody to give second chances. A story of this is when Peter denied Jesus 3 times, Jesus still made Peter a head of a church, which really confused Peter. Peter didn’t think Jesus would want him but Jesus was giving him another chance. It is important to learn from Jesus and see the good in people and always help them by giving them another go at it even if they don’t believe in it.
This is especially important for young children who learn by example. Children who are not given second chances will not learn to expect them and so might become discouraged and pressured. Because of this, we should all give everyone another chance who needs one. This I believe.
I believe in one loving God, who created heaven and earth. God sacrificed his only son Jesus for our salvation. We are redeemed from our sins because Jesus bore our sins on the cross. God could justly send everyone to hell but instead He saves people who have put their faith in Him.
I believe in the perfect bliss of heaven and the love and care God has put into sculpting our bodies. I believe God will unite all things in Him in heaven and on earth. I believe all communities and denominations of Christianity to be one and that they worship and glorify God. When we are judged and God asks, “Why should you go to heaven?” one should say, “I do not deserve to go to heaven, but because my faith is in Christ I am saved.”
In the beginning, God and man were together but when sin entered the world, they were separated. As God loved the world, He sent His only son, Jesus, to bring God and man together again. Thus Jesus says: “I am the way and the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.” This I believe.
I believe in the power of love. The love of family, the love of friends, the love of a significant other, the love of an activity, the love of food, the love of anything! I believe that the power of love really makes a difference in our every day lives. If you are feeling sad and your love for someone or something surrounds you, it makes you feel better.
Without love, the world would be a very sad, lonely and dark place to live. Love brightens our days and makes us excited to wake up in the morning. When you are doing something you love people can always see a lovely glow surrounding you which is beautiful no matter what. Also, when you are in love or surrounded by people you love, you also have a spectacular glow. I think the whole world needs to experience the feeling of love, whether they have love for another person/people, or an activity. This I believe.
I believe that God is a spirit that moves throughout the whole world and is available to all people without exception.
I believe in people.
When it’s hard to find faith in any other aspect of my life, I turn to the people I love for support.
The gospel reading for today said “God’s home is among mortals” and truly, the only way we can find faith is through each other.
I believe that we find God in the places that we are happiest, and that God is a sense, and not knowledge.
We can imagine and experience God, but we can’t define God.
We can only continue to search and grow and be open.
This I believe.
I believe that God gave us all, every last soul on Earth, a power beyond anything imaginable. I believe that He gave us the ability to forgive.
I believe that we have mouths to say “I’m sorry”. I believe we have ears to receive apologies. I believe we have eyes to see pity. I believe we have fingers to comfort the sad in spirit. I believe we have hearts to witness love.
I believe, like Jesus, that we set examples of ourselves everyday to show others the ease of love and the power of second chances. I believe God will lead us hand and hand in our journey.
This I believe.