What do you believe when it comes to Christian faith? Would you be able to sum it up fairly succinctly? If you only had one sentence to do so, what would be the most important thing you would say?
For me, it would probably be something along the lines of ‘Jesus, the son of God, was crucified and resurrected so that we might be forgiven for our sins, and he calls me to love him and all others on earth’. I could probably make that sound a bit more snappy! I suppose it’s a bit like a mission statement that most companies and organisations seem to have.
Churches through the ages have sought to write down an agreed statement of what they believe, and many call these ‘creeds’ (you should all know why from the Latin!).
The most famous creed is the Nicene creed which first dates from 325 AD, but is still used by many churches today. There are lots of different translations and versions, but this one is probably familiar as it’s from the Church of England’s Common Worship:
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,
was incarnate from the Holy Spirit and 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,
who with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified,
who 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.
Read through it line by line; do you agree with it as a statement of faith? Are there lines which you don’t understand, or don’t agree with?
We’ll be exploring this a bit further tomorrow!