We

It’s easy to say “I am a Christian” (online at least, using a pseudonym and not showing my face) but am I really? How would anyone (apart from God) tell?

I thought I would look at the Nicene Creed and check how I felt about each of the statements (I quote the Creed in full below).

The first question mark to hit me came with the very first word:

We believe in one God,

Who is “we”?

When last summer I was at the Eucharist service at Abbey Town, as part of the congregation, we recited the similar Apostles’ Creed. Then, the “we” was “we, the congregation”.

The rest of the time, I am just I, there is no “we”.

I could just replace that “we” with “I” — and I think I read that some versions of the Creed do use “I” instead of “we” — but that feels like a cop-out.

Does it matter than I am alone and not part of a community? I have a hunch that it does. Why? What would I get out of it? (not that it’s going to happen any time soon)

  • I think having somewhere where I could “live out” — or better, “share in”, so that somewhere involves interacting with other people — /being/ a Christian, would help me “be” a Christian when I’m in private. I don’t necessarily mean being “called to account”. I mean more like practising or developing a habit of thinking, acting, living in a certain way.
  • It would be nice to find friends IRL like the friends I’ve found online.
  • Ritual confession, spoken out loud, … would be horrible … but probably in a good way.

There are obvious downsides to latching on to a particular community. Equally, if I as an outsider can just choose any “community” as if from a supermarket shelf, in what sense is it really a community, and in what sense am I really becoming part of it?

Perhaps community is something I have to find in a more profound sense, or even create.

Do you use a Creed like this?

Does yours have “We” or “I”?

The Nicene Creed

I looked on the Wikipedia, where there are several versions of the Nicene Creed. This one is the (an?) Ecumenical version taken from the 1979 Episcopal Church Book of Common Prayer.

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 worshiped 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.

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2 Comments

  1. I have read and am familiar with the Nicene Creed as well as the Apostle’s Creed, which is very similar to it, but it has not been a centerpiece for my faith or religious upbringing. Many churches that refer to and often post it are more liturgical than that churches I’ve been a part of since my childhood. For example, churches like the Catholic or Episcopal faiths would be more liturgical and have certain catechisms that are always before their people. Where other protestant or evangelical faiths like I was raised in and attend would focus more on the Scriptures for their beliefs and tenets, though not dismissing or minimizing the power that such statements make for a congregation or believer.

    I’m so glad you are considering the importance of participating in the “body of Christ” in a church setting. For a believer to function on his own is like a hand or toe deciding that it is better to separate from the body and function doing “hand” or “toe-like” things on its own. I hope you see the humor as well as ridiculous nature of such a thought, David. God meant for us to function together. Much of the New Testament reiterates and commands this. Honestly, I’m quite surprised at how much you are learning, doing and “feeling” as a believer who is disconnected except through the Internet with other believers. I pray for you on this very matter every day, so it’s a good “wrestling” you are doing! Keep on looking to Him for the truth. He will reveal it to you, if you truly want to see it, my friend!

    Reply
    • Dear Beth

      Thank you for your kind comments.

      I meant to write about the rest of this Creed too, but I must have got side-tracked. I’ll see to it soon.

      I loved being in that Abbey last summer, actually as part of the worshipping congregation. I loved how grand and fancy and formal it was. I loved the small prayer service the next morning, which was very quiet and intimate (only four of us there including the priest).

      On the other hand, I am attracted to the “sola scriptura” idea. The Bible and each other is all we need for worship.

      On the third hand (??), I don’t really like the idea of “choosing” a denomination to follow, as if I were choosing a flavour of ice cream.

      So … I suppose I just have to see where I end up.

      David

      Reply

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