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Archive for February 2nd, 2010

Subtext for the Apostles’ Creed

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I BELIEVE… Who cares what ‘I believe?’ We believe! We trust. We follow. We base our life on this stuff. IN GOD THE FATHER… A 4th century, Syrian monk named Ephrem said that metaphors are like clothes that God tries on. When they don’t fit or aren’t appropriate God casts them off. I imagine that this ‘father’ title is like a shirt and tie that we gave dear old Dad for Father’s day long ago. The problem is that we won’t let him take it off. It’s tattered and tight now. It no longer fits nor is it appropriate. Maybe God and other feminists are starting to tear it off. ALMIGHTY… most high, most wonderful, most beyond our imagining. MAKER OF HEAVEN AND EARTH… Ixne ex nihilo. AND IN JESUS CHRIST HIS ONLY SON… Too much talk of substances and natures made us lose the beautiful poetry in this. God’s only son – there’s a tenderness here and preciousness. Can’t you just picture a mother holding her only, precious son? OUR LORD… I must confess: I’m not real sure what a Lord even is. Does this make us vassals or serfs or… Might this be a worn out metaphor too? WHO WAS CONCEIVED BY THE HOLY GHOST… Don’t take this one too literally. BORN OF THE VIRGIN MARY… Ever wonder what’s so fully human about spiritual conception and virgin birth? SUFFERED UNDER PONTIUS PILATE… Roman imperialists, not the Jews, Mr. Gibson! WAS CRUCIFIED, DEAD, AND BURIED… Whoa! Wait a minute! What just happened? Didn’t we leave something out? What about a beautiful life devoted to peace and wholeness and healing? What about a message from God about a New Creation? What about a prophetic word about the proud and the powerful being laid low? HE DESCENDED INTO HELL… Don’t get too excited. He went to Hades, to Sheol, where dead people go. He was really dead. He didn’t appear to die. Jesus’ love and conviction was so great that he really suffered and died for his friends. THE THIRD DAY HE ROSE AGAIN FROM THE DEAD… as the first-fruits, the vanguard of a New Day, a New Creation, a New Heaven and New Earth. HE ASCENDED INTO HEAVEN… This one’s not a literal place either. Hell is where the dead go. Heaven is where God is. AND SITTETH ON THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD THE FATHER ALMIGHTY… Told ya. FROM THENCE HE SHALL COME TO JUDGE THE LIVING AND THE DEAD… Be among the living. Be ready for God’s New Creation, which is an affirmation of life and living. I BELIEVE IN THE HOLY GHOST… Not a magical hobgoblin or a divine afterthought (or a cute little bird), but a real force for wisdom and righteousness, God at work among us. THE HOLY CATHOLIC CHURCH… O that the church in every place would be more holy. THE COMMUNION OF SAINTS… Our sisters and brothers are not lost to us. They are the great cloud of witnesses spurring us on to finish the race. THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS… Thank God! THE RESURRECTION OF THE BODY… The body, the body, the body… not a disembodied soul, but the body, the body, the body. The body matters!!! AND THE LIFE EVERLASTING… Caught up in the God of Life. AMEN and Amen!

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