“We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father [and the Son]. With the Father and the Son he is worshipped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. AMEN.” The Nicene Creed
We believe. I believe. You believe. We believe.
One times two is two, two times two is four, three times two is six, four times two is eight, five times two is ten, six times two is twelve, seven times two is fourteen, eight times two is sixteen, nine times two is eighteen, ten times two is twenty, eleven times two is twenty-two, twelve times two is twenty-four.
We used to chant the “times tables” when I was a child. The Creed and tables don’t seem much different to me. We believe yada-yada … we believe yada-yada … we believe yada-yada … amen. The only difference was that I have never had to learn the creed off by heart.
Because “We believe” applies to so much: I believe you are a sinner, I believe you are the Lost World, I believe I am not, I believe I have been saved, I believe you should be saved, I believe you should be like me, I believe you are not … amen.
“We believe” (for me) always has a “lifelessness” about it. A kind of “absence of living”. We believe becomes a fact rather than an opinion. An opinion we confuse as our own invention:
I believe the earth is flat. Stay close to shore or else you will sail over the edge and be lost for ever. I believe I love you and want you to be with me for ever and ever. I believe this table is more space than solid. I believe you are nuts! I don’t believe you.
When Jesus saw Nathanael coming towards him, he said of him, ‘Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!’ Nathanael asked him, ‘Where did you come to know me?’ Jesus answered, ‘I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.’ Nathanael replied, ‘Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!’ Jesus answered, ‘Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these.’ And he said to him, ‘Very truly, I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.’ John 1:47-51
Do you believe. Yes I do!!
So what you gonna do about it?
Is your belief a chant-a-week? Reassuring, Ritual, Rite. A belief becoming a fact making us ”right”?
Or could you say publicly these words (and would they become a chant if you did):
I Love you Dearest Father, maker of all. I invite you to breathe within each cell of my body, every thought in my head, every act of my hand. I love like no other, You gave me my mind. Yet I love every other You bring me to find. For Your love ever changes me and I desire it is so. So each cell of my body, every thought in my head, every act of my hand with our love may glow.
I love you Dearest Father of All. Your child, your heir, your loving son/daughter. We as family act as One. Yet love our diversity of colour and thought, our uniqueness of birth. Your love and ours a binding bond across culture and race, across more than right, so much more than grace – each day and each night. It drives each thought, each act of my hand. Your love ever inviting, You never demand.
I love you Dearest Father. Your will ever kind, your desire for our peace, your plan ne’er enshrined. We bring you our body, our heart and our soul not as a gift or sacrifice to atone. But simply in Love and by Love alone. Guide us Dear Lord each second, each word, each act I implore. For I stand here right now, toe-to-toe, eye-to-eye, skin-to-skin with just one desire: to allow You in me always and ever more. AMEN.
Do you believe you could? Do you believe you would?
‘Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these. Very truly, I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.’
That, for me, is why. That is my answer.
Belief is one small step. But there is so much more living and loving to be enjoyed – so much more than one tentative step. We are on a journey – not a standing still competition. If “we believe” does not change me, move me forwards, allow me to grow, become my own life changing Love …
Then why chant the creed (or any words) at all?