Sunday, June 17, 2012

Gospels and Creeds

I finally figured it out.

I love the liturgy, the rituals and the wondrous logic of my Anglican tradition. But, I've always had at least some difficulty with the creedal aspects of church, any and all churches. Though sometimes, I admit, "some difficulty" does include a stretch of time where I would not, could not, say the Apostolic or Nicene Creeds, for some 25 plus years.

Why? Well there was difficulty with the idea of "believing" so many things of which I had no clue about, or of which my God given rational "wise as serpents" brain had difficulty accepting. Besides, there is very little Gospel actually being related through the Creeds. Eventually, I set aside the sanctity of my brain aside and began saying the Creeds as an act of devotional humility, and as a concession that indeed I don't know everything and I could be wrong, maybe, possibly. OK, but there was still something and elementally missing in the Creeds which made them difficult for me. Then someone said something which pegged the problem for me.

I can't remember the man's name but he said, "The problem with the Creeds is they reduce the life of Jesus to a period, a punctuation mark between, '...born of the Virgin Mary,' PERIOD, and 'He suffered under Pontius Pilate."

That's it. For me that's the problem. Jesus' whole life: his works, his teachings, and his directions are reduced to a punctuation mark, which means also The Gospel is reduced to a punctuation mark. The Creeds are about beliefs. The Gospels are about activities. Correct me if I'm wrong, which I'm sure I can rely on, but aside from saying we should believe Jesus, Jesus didn't talk about belief as a series of cognitive assertions. He didn't say much either about what we shouldn't believe for that matter.

I guess this is what makes me so much less a creedal guy and so much more a Gospel guy. Jesus seems to focus on what we should be doing: loving God and all of creation and all humanity, along with praying, forgiving, healing, feeding, and providing those things which people need. Yet Jesus also doesn't say we do these good works to gain God's love and favor, we do these good works because we know God and know God's loving favor, to which we respond in returning God's blessings to all. I think God's gifts to us only become real blessings when we offer thanksgiving for them, then take them, break them, and give them away into the communion of humanity and creation.

This seems to me like an awful lot to squeeze into one punctuation mark.

No comments:

Post a Comment