The Nicene Creed gave me chills Sunday morning.
When was the last time reading a statement of faith did that to you?
Growing up in a “NO CREED BUT CHRIST” household (that’s a creed, by the way), I had not ever given creeds much thought. Hey, they didn’t appear in the Bible (that I could find) so we didn’t have to worry about them. We didn’t need them anyway. Creeds smack of a hierarchy, of tradition, of all those things that make Protestants shake in their pews. We were able to establish for ourselves what we believed, how our Christianity should look in this time, and this place.
But shouldn’t it be something more than that? Our God does not change. There is no shadow or turning with Him, so why should our beliefs about Him be whimsical, tossed about by desires to be relevant, to be accepting, to be (cringe) tolerant?
The Creed demands something of me as I recite it, and I am finding that each time I say it it seems to burrow its way further into my soul:
“I believe in One God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth…and in one Lord Jesus Christ…begotten of the Father before all worlds …and the Holy Spirit, which proceeds from the Father…one Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church…one baptism for the remission of sins…the resurrection of the dead…and the life of the world to come.”
If I believe them, then I must act on them. I must worship this One God rightly. I must unite myself to that Holy Church. There is no wiggle room in these words, no qualifications, no exceptions.
These words have worked for more than 1,600 years. They have stood against countless heresies and attacks. I like the fact that my church won’t change this. It’s been all these years and we’re still standing there, reciting it. It occurred to me during my Chrismation how many people have said these words before me, and how many more will say these words after me. It was and remains incredibly humbling.