All Christian organizations are encouraged to develop a statement of faith that lets others know what our core values are. As the CEO of a small organization I also know the importance of what is commonly called an elevator speech, a short succinct statement of who we are and what we believe that is intended to grab our audience and make them want to join us in the journey.
Rarely however are we encouraged to develop as similar statement for our personal faith. What do we believe and why? Some of the prayers I have written reflect my own attempts to write personal a personal statement of faith that reflects my core beliefs, but many statements of faith have been written over the years by far wiser heads than mine. The Apostles and Nicene creed, are still used as the basis for statements of faith by most Christian not for profits. I think however that they could do with a little modern interpretation so they resonate in our souls and inspire us. Reviewing them is a good starting place when reflecting on our own core values however.
One of the oldest creeds is what is now known as the Apostle’s Creed or Symbolum Apostolorum. It is the most popular creed used by Western Christians. Its central doctrines are the Trinity and God the Creator. Legend has it that it was written by the Apostles after Christ ascended into heaven. Though this is not true, the name stuck. The earliest written version is the Interrogatory Creed of Hippolytus (ca. A.D. 215). The current form is first found in the writings of Caesarius of Arles (d 542)
Another well known and ancient creed is the Nicene creed. To counter a widening rift within the church, Constantine convened a council in Nicaea in A.D. 325. A creed reflecting the position of Alexander and Athanasius was written and signed by a majority of the bishops. The two parties continued to battle each other. In A.D. 381, a second council met in Constantinople. It adopted a revised and expanded form of the A.D. 325 creed.. The Nicene Creed is the most ecumenical of creeds. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) joins with Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and most Protestant churches in affirming it.
My one contention with these creeds is that they have very little too say about what we believe our purpose here on earth is meant to be. And that is something that I think is essential in today’s world if we are to stand straight and tall against the wiles and devises of the secular world. It was because of this that I have written my own creed that incorporates not just a statement of our beliefs about God but also of our beliefs about what God’s purpose for us is. The following statement is more an addendum to the Nicene creed rather than a replacement for it.
We believe and trust in God the creator,
Who made us to be neighbours together,
Brothers and sisters from every tribe and nation and culture.
We believe and trust in Christ the redeemer,
Who saves us from self-centeredness and isolation,
To be joined together as parts of a body,
That loves and cares for each other.
We believe and trust in the Holy Spirit our enabler,
Who calls us to be one family,
With the rich, the poor, the disabled and the whole.
With the young, the old, the oppressed and despised.
We believe and trust in God,
Who welcomes us home into the eternal world,
Where justice and love will reign forever.
We believe and trust in God’s new world coming,
Where one day together with sisters and brothers from all nations,
We will be healed and made whole to become all that God intends us to be.