The Christian faith is that God has created a beautiful world, and that he loves it completely and utterly. Human beings have the privilege of self-consciousness. They are therefore able to praise their creator not only by living out their lives to the full, as with all other creatures, but also by knowingly worshipping God and taking responsibility for his creation.

Christians believe that God loved the world so much that he became incarnate – en-fleshed – in the person of Jesus. God, too, delighted to live as part of his creation in an act of great humility. However, Jesus became caught up in the ugliness of our world: the self-interestedness and power-seeking which results in so much suffering in our world. These are failings in which we all share; we all of us, to a greater or lesser extent, make a mess of our lives and those of others. In Jesus’ case, they resulted in his being crucified. And yet Christians have learnt to see two things in Jesus’ death. First, the depth of a love which was prepared to accept the cost of loving others, without any attempt to deepen the cycle of vengeance, violence and resentment. Secondly, in the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, we see the assurance of new life arising even from the worst of this world’s darkness.

This belief opens to us a new way of living. We freely recognise our failings, but rejoice to know that we are yet wholly loved by God. Any goodness we have is God’s grace acting in our lives. This frees us to be loving ourselves; it also means we have no basis upon which to judge anyone else, for we all share the same imperfect humanity. In Jesus’ own summary, we are to love God and love one another. That is the way to live life to the full.