What we believe
what we believe
James is 5 years old and painting a picture. His paper is covered with spots and splashes of every colour. His teacher in Reception class asks him what he is painting. “God”, he says. “But no-one knows what God looks like, James.” “They do now”, he replies. Like James, we can all try to picture God. At All Saints we believe this: no painting can define Him, no systematic theology can confine Him, no grave can hold Him, and no mind can fully grasp Him. But as one expression of the Church of England in Peckham, we share with Christ’s church worldwide and throughout history the beliefs expressed in the words of the Nicene Creed. This creed – what we believe - was worked out at great cost by saints who went before us in history and we celebrate the living, transforming truths it holds out to us today.
We believe and trust in God the Father… Jesus tells a story about a father. His younger son takes what his dad gives him, goes away and wastes it all. Years later, broken and hungry, he comes home. As soon as his father spots him from the window, he comes running out to welcome him back and to celebrate his return with a party. That’s a picture of what God our Father is like; we are his children, forgiven and saved.
We believe and trust in God’s Son, Jesus Christ … Jesus on earth was the very image of the invisible God, carrying the authority and power of the Father with him. He still does. Jesus himself, God’s Word tells us, “made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant… and became obedient to death, even death on a cross.” Through his body and blood, he has reconciled us to God. A sign he has given of this cosmic act of forgiveness is called holy communion when we receive bread and wine representing the very body and blood of God’s Son who died to save us.
We believe and trust in the Holy Spirit… As Jesus is God in the flesh, the Holy Spirit is God’s invisible presence at all times. He, the Holy Spirit, fills the hearts and minds and spirits of all who receive Jesus. A picture the bible gives of this is like opening the door of your home (Revelation 3:20). If we welcome into our life the presence of Jesus, we give room for the Holy Spirit to work. The power at work is the same power that in Jesus turned water into wine, healed the sick, gave sight to the blind, set prisoners of all kinds free, and that raised the dead - including Jesus himself. The power of the Holy Spirit convicts us of what is wrong in our lives and leads us into what is right. Jesus said to his disciples that although he was leaving them in the flesh, he wasn’t leaving them alone like orphans. The Holy Spirit’s presence is in effect the same as Jesus’ presence in the flesh. As the Anglican liturgy for holy communion says, ‘Great is the mystery of faith.’ Words like the Creed get us so far. We thank God for them. If all we had was mystery, we could all make up our own answers. If all we had was answers, God would be too small.
We know that the only way we can achieve anything for God’s Kingdom to come and His will to be done is through meeting with and receiving from Him, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.