The Affirmation of Faith
One of the tenets of our church, and all UAME churches, is the Affirmation of Faith. At the conclusion of every Sunday service, except for Communion Sunday services, the congregation stands and speaks the following in unison...
I believe in God the Father Almighty, the maker of Heaven and Earth and in Jesus Christ the only son of our Lord who was conceived by the Holy Spirit. Born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontious Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried. He descended into Hell. On the third day he arose from the dead, ascended into Heaven and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Universal Christian Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting, Amen.
SO...what does all that mean? We're glad you asked.
I believe in God the Father Almighty, the maker of Heaven and Earth and in Jesus Christ the only son of our Lord who was conceived by the Holy Spirit... (The first chapter of Genesis details the depth of God's power through His creation of Heaven and Earth. In Matthew chapter 1 we learn of the immaculate conception, which was relayed by the prophets in several books of the Old Testament, including Isaiah 7:13-16.)
...Born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontious Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried. He descended into Hell...(In the first chapter of Matthew we learn the name of the young lady charged with carrying and birthing Jesus. In Mark, chapter 15, Pontious Pilate, the Roman governor in charge of the geographic region that included Jerusalem, turned Jesus over to the crowd who called for his execution despite Pilate announcing Jesus' innocence of any crimes. The duration of Mark, chapter 15 explains Jesus' crucifixtion, death and burial. With regards to his decension into Hell, Revelation 1:18 gives us Jesus talking to John in a vision and he tells John "And I hold the keys to death and the grave." This represents his authority over Hell and all its minions which is explained further in the following section)
...On the third day he arose from the dead, ascended into Heaven and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty...(Luke, chapter 24, teaches us how Mary Magdelene, Mary the mother of James and Joanna brought the spices used to prepare dead bodies for permanent burial, only to find an empty tomb. After appearing to his disciples in several locations he then, according to Mark 16:19, "was taken up into heaven and sat down in the place of honor at God's right hand.)
...From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Universal Christian Church, the Communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting, Amen. (At God's right hand in Heaven is where Jesus will vouch for those who will be alive at the end of the world (the quick) and those who were dead at the end of the world (the dead). The Holy Spirit's introduction to the world occurs in the second chapter of Acts, which fufils a prophecy given to Joel by God, in Joel 2:28-32. The Universal Christian Church is composed of all people, regardless of denomination, who call Christ their Savior. The Communion of Saints refers to the regular gathering of God's people on Earth. The forgiveness of sins is a further reference toward Jesus having all power over death and the grave and how his sacrifice on the cross provides the opportunity for sins to be eternally cleansed. The resurrection of the body recalls how Jesus was gone from the tomb after three days, along with how the tombs of all believers will be empty when God calls us all to Heaven. Life everlasting simply means there is existence beyond the earth, which begs the question of how will you spend yours?)