Our First Core Value - Jesus Christ
Our first core value centers on the person and work of Jesus the Christ. Our vision statement makes it clear that all that we do, we do to serve Christ. We do this because in Jesus of Nazareth, the one who was, and is, and is to come, we discover who God is toward us (love) and who we are to be (those who love God and neighbor).
We believe that Jesus Christ matters. We believe that this person who lived, died and was raised more than 2,000 years ago still has something for us today. Even in the face of those who have tried to limit Jesus to being no more than a mystic first-century wisdom teacher or advocate of social reform we profess that he offers us more than either good advice or a new social ethic (though he does offer us both).
We do so because as Presbyterians we profess the mysterious orthodox understanding that Jesus is the Word of God incarnate (think of in-fleshed) in our midst; fully human and fully divine. In other words if we want to know who God is, look at Jesus. If we want to know who we are to be, look at Jesus.
We do so because as Presbyterians we profess that in Jesus Christ salvation has come to the world. The Bible tells the story of Jesus in which he understood his life and death to be a fulfillment of God's plan to save all of creation. He died on the cross in order that we might find full life; that we might find forgiveness; that we might find a new relationship with the living God. This salvation changes us and changes the world.
Having Jesus as our primary core value is not only of central importance in defining who we are for ourselves, but for the world. In his book They Like Jesus But Not the Church, Dan Kimball quotes a young man who says, "I would be totally into going to a church if the church revolved more around the person of Jesus than around the personality of the pastor." In other words people in the world around us are hungering for a spiritual relationship with God (or as some put it "a higher power") and are open to finding that relationship in and through Jesus. By keeping Jesus as our core value then we open the door for others to encounter and be encountered by the living God….thus changing their lives (as well as ours) forever.
As the PCUSA Book of Order puts it,
"Christ gives to the Church all the gifts necessary to be his body. The Church strives to demonstrate these gifts in its life as a community in the world." (F-1.0301)
Jesus Christ is our first core value, above all others, because he is not only our hope, but the hope of the world, that God is at work forgiving, reconciling and saving us and the whole of creation.