For the month of August, we are looking at the CREEDS (primarily, the Apostle's Creed). As Lutherans, this is something that we use regularly - whether its just a part of our normal worship service or in a baptism or as one of our young people and/or a new member affirms their faith. We join them as a congregation to profess our faith using theses very familiar words
I believe in God the Father...
I believe in God the Son...
I believe in God the Holy Spirit.
While much could be said alongside the volumes that have been written about the inner workings of the Trinity (One God revealed in three ways), I will leave that complicated discussion for another time.
The Creeds were originally developed in response to other counter beliefs (Gnosticism and Arianism, in particular). These statements of faith were over and against what people were NOT supposed to believe. Bishops in Constantine's time (circa 325 AD for the Council of Nicea) were required to "sign on the dotted line" as their own profession of belief in these carefully chosen words.
While we don't require this same kind of signature today, the words of the Creeds have become ingrained within us. Over the years, I have taken them for granted (much like the Lord's Prayer). Do you too find yourself repeating them without really thinking about what it is you are saying? Have they become so routine that we have failed to explore the depths of what they reveal about God?
In our Affirmation (confirmation) Theme events, we explore them in greater depth, taking them apart piece by piece. We seek to lift up how they show us the ways that God has chosen to reveal himself to us. We seek to share how God continues still to be revealed to us today.
Over the next few weeks, we will explore these various aspects of God - as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. But we won't stop there... For the Creeds are more than statements about God, but as we profess our faith, they are proclamations about what it means for us to speak and to live them.
In Marcus Borg's book, The Heart of Christianity, he lifts up the Latin roots of the word "creed" which means to literally "to give my heart to" (to find out more about this topic, attend the class being offered on Sunday mornings by Michael Boyd).
The heart in Hebrew understanding is not so much about how I feel about someone or something, but rather the heart is the seat of our will or decision-making. When we give our heart to something or someone, we are committing our whole selves to that person, purpose or perspective. We are then called to be guided by our beliefs in the ways that we choose to live our lives daily.
As our young people prepare to affirm their faith, we ask them to write their own statements of faith. They share a few sentences about what they believe about God.
What might your own statement of faith look like?
How would you finish one of the following sentence:
I believe God...
I give my heart to....
Instead of reciting the Apostle's Creed for the remainder of August, we are asking people to write their own statements of faith and if they would be willing to share them during worship. If you are willing to do so, please let me know.