Welcome to the ‘Getting Going’ page of the St Mary’s Spiritual Survival Kit. Thanks for visiting us.
Perhaps you’re here because you’re connecting with church and the Christian faith for the first time? Perhaps you’re intrigued why it is that Christians continue to talk about the ‘Good News’ of Jesus when our screens are filled with so much bad news?
Well, one way of understanding what faith in Jesus Christ is all about is to use our hands.
Hands have had quite a difficult press over the last few weeks. We have become particularly aware of how dirty they can sometimes be. We have become cautious of contact. We have, in some ways, lost touch.
But here’s how the bible talks about hands. In Psalm 19, verse 1, we read “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands”. Christians believe that God’s hands formed the world and everything in it. He is our creator. He made us. He knows us. He loves us. There is nowhere where we are isolated from his presence or love. We can lift our eyes to the skies and know he is with us by what his hands have created.
Although God loves us, the bible says that we have not always acknowledged or responded to his love. In fact, we have often isolated ourselves from him. We have taken the control of our lives into our own hands. We have lost touch with God and this is what the bible calls ‘sin’. One of the communion prayers of the Church of England puts it like this, “our hands were unclean, our hearts were unprepared”.
The good news is that the story doesn’t end there. God invites us to return to him. He hand-delivers the invitation in person by sending Jesus, his son, to be God with us. His hands touched the sick and healed them in Matthew 8. Ultimately, his hands were pierced by nails, as he was crucified on a Roman cross around 33AD.
Christians believe that Jesus’ death was an act of sacrifice that offers healing and forgiveness for our sin. Isaiah 53 in the bible says this, “[Jesus] was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.”
The bible tells us that God raised Jesus back to life, following his death for us. The Christian creed, shared by Christians around the world each Sunday says this about Jesus, “The third day he rose again from the dead: He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.” The story is told in the bible in Luke 24.
Those who want to respond to God’s invitation to return to him and to receive his forgiveness in Jesus, might say to God, in the words of Psalm 31 and Luke 23, “Into your hands I commit my spirit”. Jesus offers us eternal life – not just a quantity of life but a quality of life which is life to the full. In these challenging times, there is no safer place to entrust ourselves than into the hands of God. We might echo the words of Psalm 31, “My times are in your hands”.
If you’d like to find out more about the Christian faith, you might like to look up the bible passages in bold by typing them into the search bar of www.biblegateway.com. You might like to read through the Luke’s account of Jesus’ life online using the same website and beginning at Luke 1. Or you might like to contact the church office at St Mary’s. One of our team would love to hear your views and continue the conversation.