I used to hear the word Creed and catechism and associate with one type of Christian. Not realizing that in my church (and home for that matter) there was a systematic teaching going on in a similar manner. The progress was slower though, giving time to actually answer my questions.
Every group has a creed. A quasi statement aspiring to the essentials of what they believe. Wu-Tang’s “cash rules everything around me” to the United States “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” grant to those associated and those observing a glimpse of what is essential to that group. (Whether they aspire to its nobility is another issue.) You can reach back to the days of Moses and here covenant Israelites saying through time “Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart…” (Deut. 6:4-5a)
I think Jaroslav Pelikan gives a great deal of clarity about these statements of belief in his AUDIO discussion with Krista Tippet about The Need for Creeds where he says “it is ok on sunday morning when you’re out with your friends somewhere. But in your darkest hours of life you have to believe something specific. Specific means specified. And therefore specifiable. That specification is the creed’s task.”
It is really at the baseline of the discussion the necessity to answer the question that Jesus asks through time “Who do you say that I am?” Each generation and thus every person must draw their conclusions about this question. If He is the same yesterday, today, and forever more than the blessing of the answer is the harmony that comes out of 2000 years of people saying the same thing. To affirm the essentials of a belief in tandem with people who have suffered greatly before you places more purpose in our lives than anything we could go on our own. Credal formats may change in methodology. The essence is the message.
What is the point. Again I believe Pelikan reminds us that there will be dark days. What will you believe in? The days where the roughest of moments produce a certainty that regardless of how much he can pay a light bill is not going to matter. This trouble is not going away soon. You will have to endure. What then will you hold to? Listen closely. You will be able to hear the chant of the saints shouting in triumphal procession before the Christ ‘one Lord, one faith, one baptism.’ If the essentials are essential too you, how long can the secondary issues pull you through?
What do you really believe? Whats your essentials that get you through the day? Post your thoughts below.