I have never been very self-aware, a trait that gets me into trouble all the time. So, when I listen to this radio show and hear a ten year old provide an exquisite and profound statement of his or her personal beliefs, I am humbled. “Why can’t I come up with something so profound,” I think before my mind wonders to the grocery list.
Yet every Sunday, at Church, with the rest of the congregation, I stand a recite an ancient form of words. My mother taught them to me. Her mother taught them to her. This link of mothers teaching children goes back to 325 AD when the words were first penned at the Council of Nicaea as a succinct statement of the Christian faith. These words are obviously as public as any can be, but they are also intensely personal. They say all I think I need to believe about my origin and destiny. They teach me that God is kind and loving, creative and merciful. They teach me to read the prophets of Israel and to look for prophets in our own day, those to whom the Spirit still speaks about things we humans do not always want to learn. These words make me one in faith with my ancestors, one with others who are saying the words at their churches every Sunday. Sometimes we sing them in Latin. Sometimes we say them in English. Bach and Mozart set them to music. They are beautiful words.
So, what does this post-modern, middle aged, not very self-aware American believe? I believe the Nicene Creed. Here is how it goes:
I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made.
Who, for us men and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary, and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered and was buried; and the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again, with glory, to judge the quick and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end.
And I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of Life; who proceeds from the Father and the Son; who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; who spoke by the prophets.
And I believe one holy catholic and apostolic Church. I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins; and I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.