By Carlos Alarcon, M.D. –
As my involvement in the administration of my local church has grown, my understanding of the global United Methodist Church has expanded. Like many other lay people, I have become keenly aware of how un-united we truly are. Though we claim to be one in faith, our United Methodist Church, like most other major Protestant denominations, is feeling the effects of living and serving in a post-modern world. We as a society have gone from a scriptural worldview grounded in the Bible and the traditional tenets of the Christian faith passed on for over 2000 years where truth is determined by God and is universal, to a post-modern belief where truth is relative and subjective, defined by the individual, and is situational.
A faith built precariously on doubts and suspicions is not the faith I know because I have witnessed the hope that resides in the power of Christ’s cross.
So I refuse to build my faith upon suspicions and doubts. Instead, I proudly stand unashamed for the ancient faith that enabled our Christian ancestors to endure trials and tribulations I can barely imagine. I proudly stand unashamed for the faith that warmed the heart of John Wesley and ignited the Methodist movement. Our faith is grounded in the sure hope of Jesus Christ, and for this hope we stand unashamed.
The cross is a symbol of faith and hope, but to those of us who profess to be followers of Christ, it is the greatest symbol of love the world will ever know. It is a love that seeks us out and meets us wherever we are, pays for our sins, frees us from death, redeems and restores us in relationship with our Holy Father. It is a love that provides life, abundant life – eternal life. It is a love that we don’t deserve and could never earn. It is a love that calls us to serve out of reverence, adoration, and gratitude. A love that is too big not to share! This is the love for which we stand unashamed.
I do not worship a god of my own creation, but instead a God who created me. And I do not fully comprehend his love, a love that is unreasonable, unwarranted, and undeserved, yet is freely and lavishly poured out on me and all who would accept Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior.
This is not a love I fully understand, nor do I fully understand the author of that love. He is not a god I can wrap my mind around but a God who blows my mind instead. He alone is worthy, and for Him I will stand unashamed! God I pray, let that be what defines me.
Dr. Carlos Alarcon, M.D., is a medical doctor and lay member of Mt. Bethel United Methodist Church in Marietta, Georgia.