Christianity

(A statement from Canterbury Cathedral)
A Christian is someone who believes that Jesus Christ is God showing everyone what he is like.

Jesus lived in Palestine and was killed by being nailed to a cross in about 33 A.D. -a victim of wrong-doing and evil. Yet He was given new life, so overcoming evil and death. He promised His followers that they too would have the experience of travelling the same kind of path: often one of suffering, but ultimately one of life with God.

God invites us to meet and follow Jesus-which means following his way of life and teachings as recorded and interpreted in the Bible. As a person becomes convinced of the truth of life with Jesus, so he or she gets to know God better. In doing this, we should find that we become more aware of God at work in the life of the world and in people.

Life and people are seen to be of infinite value because they belong to God. The Christian's own life should be one of service to the world and to people, because that was how Jesus lived and died and lives.

Jesus promised that God would go on making Himself known in His world and in His church, through His Holy Spirit. This is the way He inspires and guides His people in their Christian lives.

You can learn about Christianity by contacting a church near your home.

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Christian unity
(A statement by the Archbishop of York)

Unity is not an option for the Christian. It is an imperative which springs from the very depth of Jesus' own prayer that all who claim allegiance to Him might be one. Yet almost from the beginning there has been difference, diversity, conflict, which in the course of history have led to division.

Standing as we do towards the end of the millennium, we inherit the painful fact that the Church is divided. At the same time we can rejoice that the churches are engaged in a positive quest for unity, not for its own sake, not as an end in itself, but for the sake of the world. We must remain committed, whatever the obstacles, however impossible ecclesiastical unity may yet appear.

And here surely must be a more credible model which the Church sets before the world, whereby the gun and bomb are rejected out of hand in favour of two altogether more powerful weapons-prayer and intercession.

We recognise and respect each other as brothers and sisters in the One Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; we accept the fact that some things are not possible together, and that is a source of deep pain for all; at the same time we encourage one another in praying and working together for the sake of the world and its peoples, for their well-being and unity-ourselves pilgrims together in the way of Christ's death and resurrection.

[First published in the Westminster Cathedral Bulletin of January 1994 written by the then Bishop of London, Dr. David Hope.]

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Jesus
(A statement from Salisbury Cathedral)
Millions serve Him as their Lord and worship God.

Over the past two thousand years the Christian Church has spread to every country in the world. In great cathedrals and in little churches, in private homes and in the open air, Christians meet to worship God through Jesus Christ and to dedicate their lives to His service.

Jesus was born and lived in the area around Jerusalem. For His first thirty years He worked as a carpenter and craftsman. For the next three years He travelled constantly, proclaiming a message He called 'the good news', the Gospel.

Jesus taught people to look on God as Creator and loving Father, and to ask Him to meet our needs as a child asks his or her father, secure and confident of his love. The prayer He taught his followers begins 'Our Father' (You will find it below).

At the heart of Jesus' message was the good news of God's reign, God's kingdom. Where God reigns, there is love and peace, freedom and justice. He called people to turn from their old selfish ways and to start a new life, placing themselves under the reign of God, and working for justice, truth and freedom for everyone.

He showed what this means by the way He lived His own life, serving those in need. He used His remarkable powers of healing to relieve the sufferings of many people. He offered His friendship to those who were excluded by respectable society.

Jesus saw Himself as God's servant, God's chosen agent. His loyalty to God forced Him to challenge the authorities of His country in the name of God's kingdom. Faced with this challenge they arrested Him at night, hastily tried Him and convicted Him and executed Him the next day by nailing Him to a cross.

Shortly after His death He appeared to His friends alive. Christians believe that He was raised from the dead by God and that His resurrection proved that He was God's chosen servant.

His followers came to realize that Jesus was not only a man. He was 'the human face of God'. They worshipped him as 'The Lord'.

The risen Jesus is alive for ever. Christians believe He is present with us in Spirit today.

Through Him God offers forgiveness and the opportunity of a new life to everyone. Everyone is called to follow Him. You too are invited to join this community of faith and to discover the power and the joy that God gives to those who serve Him.

If you feel this is a good time for you to consider this further, we hope you will make contact with your local Anglican\Episcopal Church.

Jesus said: 'Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest'. (Matthew 11:28)

Jesus said: 'Do not worry, saying 'What will we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What will we wear?' Your heavenly Father knows you need all these things. Strive first for God's kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well'. (Matthew 6:31-33)

Jesus said: 'The Kingdom of God is like treasure hidden in a field. Someone found it and in his joy went and sold all that he had and bought the field'. (Matthew 13:44)

Jesus said about Himself: 'The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many'. (Mark 10:45)

This is the prayer Jesus taught His followers to pray. You may like to say the prayer slowly, pausing to think about the meaning of each phrase.

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THE LORD'S PRAYER
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power and
the glory are yours
now and for ever.
Amen

If you would like to read more about Jesus, get hold of a Bible or a New Testament. You will find four Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The second of these, Mark, is the shortest. It is probably the best one to read first.

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