Friday, August 14, 2015

Apostles’ Creed: I Believe In

The Apostles’ Creed is one of the oldest creeds of the Church. It’s also something that I’ve been becoming more familiar with since it has become part of my daily liturgy. I thought it would be good to work my way through it a bit at a time.

The Creed opens with the words ‘I believe in’. The little word ‘in’ makes a big difference for those of us who recite this Creed as our statement of faith. It’s one thing to say that you believe someone. That’s just saying that you accept as true what that person is saying. But it’s quite another thing to say that you believe in that person. Saying that means that you are entrusting yourself to the person.

This difference is reflected in John's Gospel with his language of believing. There are times when this is just about accepting something as true.

Jesus said to her, 'Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father'.

But then there are times when the point is about trust.

But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people.

John used the same Greek work in each case, but the grammar he used shows that something different is going on, a difference reflected in the translation.

This explains what the Creed is. It’s not a statement concerning some things we believe about God. No, it’s much more than that. To be sure, there are facts about Him to know and accept as true. (And the Creed gives us some of those facts.) But doing that isn’t enough. The Creed is our declaration that we entrust ourselves to this God who is described in the Creed. So, when we recite the Creed we are saying that, because we accept those facts in the Creed as true, we are entrusting ourselves to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. It’s not just what you believe but whom you believe in.

So, next time you recite the Creed, this is what you are saying: ‘This is my God to whom I entrust myself.’

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