We talked about where the creed came from, why we have it and examples of creeds in the bible. There are many places in the bible where the writers of the Old Testament and New Testament knew the importance and value of writing down what they believe, and we looked up those passages. We also talked why each part made its way into the Creed and how each article reveals what we believe about the God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit - that devine mystery called the trinity.
As I was preparing, I started thinking of the creed. Here it is if you want to read through:
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son our Lord,
He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. He descended into hell. On the third day, He rose again. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Christian church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting. Amen
If you are like me, you read and recite this so quickly that you forget just how important the words are, how much is said in such a short passage.
I imagine most of us don't often reflect and meditate on what each article means. We don't fully comprehend the depth of each phrase. Furthermore, we don't consider how what we believe should affect how we live.
We know what we believe, but we have no idea what we believe.
For instance, we say that God is the creator of heaven and earth (and therefore, all things on heaven and earth). Do we treat people as a beautiful creation of the Father Almighty? Or do we judge by appearance? Do we value life - all life, born and unborn - as a blessed creation of the Father? Do we care for the earth, this place we inhabit, as a fantastic creation of the One who called it good? Or are we reckless in our use of resources, goods ... and people.
Do we trust the power of God, the same power that conceived Jesus and rose him from the grave? Do we understand that confessing that power also confesses that we have that same power in us? That same power of the Holy Spirit dwells in us and gives us the courage, strength and boldness to proclaim who we are and what we believe, without fear! This power gives us life, gives us freedom to unabashedly follow the Lord without fear and chains? This power begs us to ask "whom shall I fear" and know the answer is NO ONE!
Do we really believe in the holy Christian (catholic - which means universal - is said in some churches) church? Or, do we get hung up on shrapnel, those little shards of difference that prevent sharing the Gospel and replace it with petty arguments that cause division. I would argue that often, our actions as churches and denominations deny that we actually believe in the holy universal church...and we shift the focus of church from Jesus to things of man.
And finally. Do we really believe in the forgiveness of sins? Do we really know that we are forgiven if we confess and repent? Do we trust that the slate is clean and we are washed and purified? Moreover, does our "belief" in our own forgiveness echo into our lives and how we forgive others? Or, do we deny what we state in the creed by hanging on to anger and hurt, creating grudges and walls between believers and non-believers alike?
As I reflect on the creed, this I know: I BELIEVE.
My life just has a bit of catching up to do.
I trust in you, I trust in the work of the cross. I trust that you are pouring out your Holy Spirit as I seek you and follow your will for my life. Continue to purify and refine me, Lord. That is my prayer.