Everything we do at Holy Cross is rooted in our Christian Faith.
We humans are creatures of desire. Our passionate desire can fix on different objects, people and ambitions, but it is really a desire for the ultimate truth, beauty and goodness. We all, whether we know it or not, desire what we call God: ‘our heart is restless until it rests in you’ (St Augustine).
‘God is love, and those who live in love live in God, and God lives in them’ (1 John 4:16). Love is the Mystery at the heart of the universe and at the heart of our faith. God loves each one of us and, as Christians, we are called to love God and love our neighbour.
‘God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life’ (John 3:16). God created all things and then in love became part of creation in Jesus Christ who is fully divine and fully human. Human evil killed Jesus by nailing him to a cross but God’s love is more powerful than the powers of evil so Jesus rose from the dead and offered us a way of sharing God’s life.
Jesus had an intimate relationship with the God of Israel whom he called ‘Father’. His followers noticed that Jesus taught and did things which made it clear that he was the Son of God and shared the identity of the one God of Israel (Mark 2:7 & 1 Corinthians 8:6). The Apostle Thomas called Jesus, ‘My Lord and my God’ (John 20:28). Jesus also sent the Holy Spirit on his followers after he had risen from the dead and the experience of the Spirit showed them that the Spirit is also God (cf. 2 Corinthians 3:17-18). Jesus thus revealed to us the Holy Trinity: there is one God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19). God is not a solitary power but a communion of love.
To keep alive this communion of love on earth after his return to the Father, Jesus founded a community, the Church, and set up simple rituals, the Sacraments, using natural elements such as bread, wine, oil and water to share divine power with us. This Church is Catholic , or universal, because it exists as one community in time and space. Jesus made his Apostles the leaders of the Church and they appointed bishops, priests and deacons to lead the Christian communities they founded. The threefold order of bishops, priests and deacons has continued in the Church to this day but there are many other gifts and ministries among the Christian people – teachers, administrators, monks and nuns, those who heal, those who serve the poor, and many others.
This community, guided by the Holy Spirit, put together writings that recorded God’s dealings with humanity in Israel and the Church into what we call the Bible. The books of the Bible are inspired by the Holy Spirit to show us the way of salvation but they are the Word of God in human words – they don’t teach us about science and they are not history textbooks. The Bible is thus a source of life and teaching today but it needs interpretation as its books were written for people in different cultures and circumstances.
By their faith, Christians commit themselves to a way of life. This is summed up in Jesus teaching to ‘love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbour as yourself’ (Luke 10:27). We love God by prayer and worship, and love our neighbour by loving service. If we really want to love our neighbour we also have to love ourselves rightly – self-hatred has no place in healthy Christianity. We are, however, called to spiritual combat. To struggle against sin and evil is to fight for authentic human flourishing.
This spiritual combat has a social and global dimension. Throughout the ages Christians have been known for their service of the poor and commitment to social justice and this continues today. Sometimes this leads to political involvement in the service of our community – Archbishop Desmond Tutu once said, ‘when people say that the Bible and politics don’t mix, I ask them which Bible they are reading’. Our faith also demands that we are involved in the care of creation, especially in this time of climate crisis.
The heart of our faith is summed up in the Nicene Creed. This statement of faith was drawn up in the fourth century and we still say it together at the Eucharist each Sunday.
We believe in one God, the Father, the almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one substance with the Father; through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven, was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary and was made human. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father, who with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.