Can we say all of the Apostles’ Creed without crossing our fingers at some parts? It’s the oldest of our statements of faith, first used as a baptismal confession beginning in the second century. It’s also one of the most recited creeds in the wider Christian faith. Many of us know it by heart; which makes it one of the most beloved and insufferable things we say in church.
I’ve made no mystery of the fact that I love this creed, and in part, it’s because the creed invites us to believe absolutely absurd things: An all-powerful Divinity creating us out of love and freedom; a savior born of a virgin who willingly descends into hell to rescue us and who will come again to judge us; a community of saints past, present and future; and the promise that our very bodies will one day be restored long after we are dead. If you ask me, the whole Christian faith is an exercise in absurdity. And in a world full of brokenness, I continue to believe this absurdity offers a glimpse of God’s love for us.
This fall, we invite you to join us as we embark on a six-week small group study of the Apostle’s Creed, using a book written by Australian theologian Ben Myers. In a deeply thoughtful line-by-line analysis of the ancient words, Myers inspires us to examine the basic tenets of our faith. With beauty and theological imagination, we enter into the creed with all the awareness of post-enlightenment thinking and rational complexity.
What does it mean to confess that God is almighty? Myers tells us, “Only a God who is totally free and totally sovereign can relate to the world with total love, patience and generosity… God’s sovereignty is what secures human freedom, not what threatens it.” What does it mean to say that Jesus comes to judge the quick and the dead? Myers writes, “The confession that Christ will come as judge is not an expression of terror or gloom. It is part of the good news of the gospel. It is a joy to know that there is someone who understands all the complexities and ambiguities of our lives. It is a joy to know that this one — the only one who is truly competent to judge — is ‘full of grace and truth’ (John 1:14). He comes to save, not to destroy…”
If you want more nuggets like that, you’ll need to read the book. Myer’s work is chock full of good news that springs forth from the creed, to a world that desperately needs it.
If you’re looking for a place to connect, to engage in deeper community with other members of this congregation, or to wrestle with some of the oldest shared words of our faith, we invite you to sign up for a small group here.
While I can’t be certain you’ll proudly confess all of the absurdity after this study, I can assure you you’ll never recite the words the same way again.