Today’s Reading: “I believe in.”
If you’ve been with us thus far in this blog series on The Apostles’ Creed, you know that I’ve not been in a hurry to get us to the subject of God. That might seem strange to many of you, but allow me today to explain the reasoning behind my madness.
As I see it, the word ‘God,’ in our generation, is one very loaded word. We toss this little three-letter word around so easily, yet fail to realize the heavy-duty baggage that is so often attached for those who hear it. To many, the word, God, offers pleasant connotations; bringing to mind beautiful scenarios of pearly gates, flying cherubs, and streets of gold; while to others, the word conjures up visions of angry fathers, demanding judges, and (excuse my French) pissed-off deities.
Fr. Richard Rohr wisely states:
“All language is metaphorical. Words are never the thing itself; they can only point toward the thing… (for example) …Words can only point a finger toward the moon; they are not the moon or even its light. They are that by which we begin to see the moon and its light.”
So, when most of us use the word, “God,” we are attempting to point a finger toward a loving Creator, but we fail to recognize that the word itself can carry a variety of different experiences for each person who hears us speak that word. For one who has good and pleasant experiences with God, the word is a metaphor for good and pleasant things. But for those who have had difficult or painful associations connected with religion, the word becomes a metaphor for difficult or hard things.
This is why, I’m going to take a brief detour today, and talk to you about, what I believe to be, the three most important words of The Apostles’ Creed.
I believe in…
In truth, this phrase of “I believe in…” must become the linchpin to everything else that follows in The Creed. Because, if you or I are to live the life that God has for us, life to the full (as Jesus says in John 10:10), I believe that each one of us must make room for a radical transformation from being “the doubter” or “the scoffer,” to one who can freely say…
I believe in…
As we talked last time, belief is something only human beings can do. It’s the primary exercise of the unique God-given gift of choice placed deep inside every human life. Free will allows us to choose what we will believe and what we will not believe. And it’s this on-going transaction of choice which ultimately forms those creeds, or beliefs, by which you and I will navigate ourselves through life. So now, based on the fact that what you believe in forms how you live your life, here’s a very important question…
What do you believe in?
I’m hoping that this question might be one you will ponder over a period of time…long after you’ve finished reading this blog post. Because, while your quick, immediate response might be interesting; quite honestly, it’s your deep-thinking, pondered-over answers here that will reveal the most about who you really are, and without a doubt, your core set of beliefs (or your creeds) by which you live your life.
So, in closing, let me ask you, one more time…
What do you believe in?
My prayer: Father God, in a letter to his friends, the apostle Paul, seemed to write out for us those deepest things he chose to believe in…
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. (Philippians 4: 8 NIV)
Holy Spirit, as I form my creed for life, choosing those things that I truly believe in, may my list look a lot like Paul’s. For Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to consider: Paul goes on in his letter, saying this:
Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into His most excellent harmonies. (Philippians 4: 9 MsgB)
Am I “putting into practice” core beliefs that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy? Do I truly embrace these qualities and are they being expressed daily in my life? If not, what needs to change in me inwardly, so I might better reflect the “good” I find in these words?
So, what are you experiencing today as we are Contemplating The Creed?
Over a seven-week period, you and I will take a deeper look at The Apostles Creed. In order to keep all the blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Contemplating the Creed home page for ease of use.
If you like what you’re reading, might we suggest you share this page with others!