I still vividly remember my visit to Australia some years ago to spend some time with my Mum after she had back surgery for a collapsed spine. A steel rod in her back strengthened the existing structure and returned some of its youthful vitality. She looked years younger, her face was less stressed and she gained two inches in height. Watching her walk straight and tall for the first time for years was wonderful. It was sobering however to realize that even though she has two sons, a daughter and a daughter in law who are doctors, no one really noticed what was happening or the severity of her problem.
Have we too lost our backbones and no one has noticed? Has the strength and vitality of our faith collapsed diminishing us to a mere shell of what God intends us to be? What are the things that contribute the iron and steel that makes us stand straight and tall in the presence of God and of those around us?
What is Your Response:
Take time to reflect on your faith. Make a list of the core beliefs of your faith, the spiritual practices that nurture those beliefs the daily, weekly and yearly activities reflect these beliefs. Look over the list and prayerfully consider: Is your faith strong and vibrant or weak and frail? What provides the iron and steel you need to grow your faith into the future?
If you can, set aside a retreat day to read through this spiritual audit and allow God to speak to you about your faith. What actions could you take to strengthen your backbone?
Creating a personal creed that gives zest and vigour to our faith is a great way to strengthen our spiritual backbones. The less confident we are of our core beliefs, the more likely we are to focus on holier than thou practices to define us. Whether we drink, smoke or condone same sex marriages, whether we call God father, mother or Eternal One, are not central to our faith but we often treat them as though they are. It is these non essentials we use to separate us from other believers. They become our litmus test to decide who is and who isn’t a part of the body of Christ.
I wrote the prayer above as a personal creed, after reflecting on my own beliefs. It provides a statement that I can return to whenever I feel insecure in my faith. Its a little like a calling statement but with a little more detail about what we believe rather than what we want to do with our lives.
What is Your Response:
Read through the Nicene Creed and Apostles’ Creed and listen to the two versions of the Apostles’ creed in this post. In what ways do these statements reflect your own beliefs? What would you like to add or subtract? Use them as a foundation for writing your own creed. You may want to memorize it, but more importantly, you need to read through this creed regularly so that you are confident in what you believe.