The Creed is such a big thing with so much heritage and story hanging on to it we offer an introduction to the background, the theology, the politics and the history of each part of the creed before we discuss it in worship and afterwards.
We have had the last #Creed where we dived into the last three big promises. It was good. It's been a good five weeks exploring words we are very familiar with but now having taken a bite at them trying to understand them more deeply. Deep is the word to use because each word is full of different ways to think about things and full of experiences and stories.
One of the things asked was for people to put together even just a few words about the Creed. It could be a comment, or a reinterpretation of one line, or a story or reflection on the Creed. It could be a piece of poetry or a rewording of the whole thing. The idea is to collect the breadth of how we speak of the Creed today in a congregation that is healthy in its breadth. So if you would like to put pen to paper, or already have, then please send us your thoughts, anonymously, and we'll put it together with the sermons, discussion, questions, liturgy and comment that has been made round the Creed over the season of Lent.
Just a few words... it would also be a great witness to God's People engaging with the heritage of our faith and finding life in the oldest things...
#Creed - 11th February
A few thoughts and insights to share from our first evening introducing the Creed:
The idea of 'believe' and having faith are quite different.
We need to have a more contemporary way to talk about faith than this: can we rewrite?
Belief is about trust. I prefer saying I am a 'person of faith' rather than being described as a believer.
Faith is a good word becasue I can beleive in the devil but I dont have faith in the devil. I can believe in God and I can have faith in God.
How do you fit gravitational waves (which made the headlines today) into the creed.
Do you not thing we can speak of this more poetically and metaphorically when we can't hold the literal descriptions in the creed?
Believe suggests there is something bigger and more mysterious than we can understand. Something beyond ourselves.
This is a concise work that whittles down huge beliefs into a few lines: it's like doing 52 Stories, telling a story in just 104 words!
The Creed is a tick list.
An Almighty God? How does that explain pain and suffering? But God gives us freewill. Our own chidlren wouldn't mature uness they were able to face bad things. You can't wrap them up in cotton wool.
'Almighty' parallels the ideas of Emperor at the time of writing the creed where God was seen to be even more 'almighty' than the most almighty people of the time.
I believe in God the Father Almighty,
maker of Heaven and Earth
Thursday 11th February - 8pm - Walkround
and in Jesus Christ His only Son our Lord
who was conceived by the Holy Ghost,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, dead, and buried;
he descended into hell
Wednesday 17th February - 7.30 - Walkround
The third day he rose again from the dead,
he ascended into Heaven,
and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father
from thence he shall come to judge the quick
and the dead.
Tuesday 23rd February - 8pm - Walkround
I believe in the Holy Ghost;
the Holy Catholic Church;
the Communion of Saints;
Wednesday 2nd March - 7.30 - Walkround
the Forgiveness of Sins;
the Resurrection of the Body;
and the Life Everlasting.
Thursday 10th March - 7.30 - Walkround
#Creed - 17th February
Some ideas and questions floated in our second discussion of the Creed. This week we reflected on :
I believe in Jesus Christ His only Son our Lord who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell.
Jesus had human DNA
Some of the phrases can be understood either literally or poetically but at the end of the day you end up with the same result: either Jesus was literally born of a virgin or it is just a poetic way of saying Jesus was unique. But we both agree with the end result: Jesus was unique.
To believe is to accept truth without proof
Virgin Birth is a barrier to contemporary thinking
Scientists talk of creation all the time. Yes, we can create out of nothing
There is far more out there than we can see therefore it can only be poetic language
Virgin Birth can serve as a corrective. Even though we may not agree with it historically it is part of our heritage and so it serves as a corrective to us when we stray far from the original thinking.
Was Jesus almighty? Did he know the world was flat or heaven wasn’t ‘up there’?
Jesus got tired, angry, hungry etc. These are not stages you’d imagine a god to find themselves in.
What moments were there when Jesus’ mind was changed to show that he was human: Syro Phoneician woman for example
Was Jesus God? How does that happen?
Conceived by the ‘Holy Spirit’ isn’t essential. It may have been in days gone by but not now.
Virgin births are a popular way to illustrate how significant a person is. Alexander the Great was said to be born of a virgin, so too Adonis, Horus, Indra - that’s people in every mainline culture.
The virgin birth isn’t mentioned in Paul. There is no evidence that the idea of a virgin birth was going around the earl church. Paul does say, however, that Jesus was born of the seed of David so clearly saw him as Joseph’s son.
We have so little recorded about Jesus. His birth and when he was 12. We don’t know what he was like and the creed mentions nothing of his life.
Jesus was crucified. What are the different ways of understanding his death: Killed or died? Took our sins away or died because he loved us? A picture of how much God loves us or something he had to do to appease the wrath of God?
Descended into Hell or to the dead: only appeared about 570AD. When written it couldn’t have meant literally.
It says he was really dead rather than just asleep or in some temporary state. He was rally dead.
#Creed 23rd February
Why 'Three Days'? - it's the idea of Jesus being really dead: a Jewish cultural tradition that after three days you were definitely dead.
Reflecting on last week, in the contemporary version hell has been changed to dead. Should we have done away with the idea of hell and the Devil?
What is evil becasue there is certainly evil in the world.
So say evil is the lack of love rather than a personified devil who acts independently of God.
The traditions of hell have grown up through time. The Satan is not the devil in Job but the table round which all the gods sit and God is the chief God and the Satan is the adversery whose duty is to challenge God, which he does but he isn't 'evil' as such. The idea grows as other cultures come over the horizon such as Hades whcih grows a fiery idea.
Can a God of love create a hell?
There is a heresy Willie Barclay was convinced by whcih was Universalism where everyone goes to heaven, that God's love is far greater than anything 'evil' and no one, at the end of time, can remain outside the love of God. If they do, then whatever it is that keeps them distant from God is more powerful than God and that can't happen!
The idea of an empty tomb is sometimes seens as different from resurrection. Empty Tomb traditions came after resurrection traditions.
Jesus was ghost-like on Emmaus Road and walked through walls, but ate fish and let Thomas touch him. Who knows what resurrection is like.
It must be more than a trick with bones.
What kind of body do you want at resurrection? Is it physical becasue I don't want the body I have for all of eternity. A new model would be nice.
Ascended is difficult given our understanding of the physical universe. Can we think of this more metaphorically, that Jesus wasn't resuscitated, ie came back to life in order to die again, but that he was resurrected which is a different way of living where you didn't die again.
There are a number of resurrection stories that are really resuscitation stories: Jairus' daughter, woman of Nain, all rescuscitated as they all died again. Resurrection is life beyond death and so ascension is a picture of not dying again.
Ascension links with Elijah becasue he was taken up to heaven, on a chariot of fire, leaving 'the greater half'. Jesus ascension: taken up, but the Spirit (the greater half) came and tongues of fire at that.
On the right hand: does this just mean in the presence of?
Judge: difficult: all punishment is remedial surely. You are punished so you learn not to do it again. So God's judgement: remedial and so not eternal and that links bac to there not being a hell.
Need to think more about judgement.
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