More Belief on Bright Monday

Easter begins with Sunrise—the tomb open and empty, the more faithful women first to see, first to receive the good news, 1st to spread the good news.

This week following Easter should be the most celebrated time in the church, yet it is often themore neglected than any other time of the church.

Fasting and grief are over;  feast and joy return.  Christ is Risen!  Christ is Lord of All!

Easter Monday

Image result for tomb open
the tomb open and empty

The week after Easter is known as Easter Week (the week before is Holy Week).

In the Germanic-based languages (of which English is the most widespread), the word Easter comes from a pagan goddess of dawning, brightening, springtime.

Latin-based languages and Greek call this most important day Pascha, for the Passion of Christ, or Resurrection Sunday.

The Eastern churches, the Orthodox and Eastern Catholic, call the week following Easter Bright Week.

The joyful spirit of Easter should remain in the church until Ascension, 40 days after the Resurrection.  This is Pentecost.

More on my Faith Journey

When I began my search for More about Christianity, more than I had encountered growing up in my plain church, one of the first things I encountered was The Apostle’s Creed.

If you grew up with the Apostle’s Creed, it probably never affected you as much as it affected me.  I hope it did affect you.

For someone who grew up with the Lord’s Prayer only—and the occasional memorization from the Bible, such as Psalm 23 and John 14:1-6—the Apostles’ Creed woke me up to more.

Hearing the Apostles’ Creed spoken from the heart by everyone around me:  that was powerful.

That changed my path.

More Background

The first written documentation of the Apostles’ Creed, kept carefully by the Roman Catholic Church, is a letter from 390 AD.  The Creed may have existed earlier;  it certainly reached its final written form by the late 700s. 

Before the Creed was an earlier and shorter version called the Roman Symbol, which Irenaeus (early Church leader) called a rule of faith.  Irenaeus died in 202.

Tradition claims that each one of the original apostles contributed a part of the Roman Symbol.  In dealing with various heresies, the Roman Symbol gradually changed into the Apostles’ Creed that we know today.

The fact that the Creed does not appear in a document until 390 AD means nothing to me.  When a congregation is primarily unlettered (as it would have been in antiquity and the Middle Ages), when memory is more important than documents (which can be forged and which not everyone can read and check for accuracy),

a more scientific view of God
William Blake’s “The Ancient of Days”

a common saying that everyone knows is much more important.

 

the Apostles’ Creed

I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of Heaven and Earth;

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;

The third day He rose again from the dead.

He ascended into Heaven,

As Christ ascends, more angels come down.
William Blake’s “The Ascension”

And sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty.

From thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Ghost,

The holy catholic church,

The communion of saints,

The forgiveness of sins

The resurrection of the body,

And the life everlasting.  Amen.

More Questions on the Creed?

Here are some things you might not understand and have questions about.  This is what I’ve learned over the years.

“The Holy Ghost”:  Some churches say “Holy Spirit”.  “Ghost” is an old hold-over in the English language;  it means “spirit”.

“He descended into Hell”: Some churches now omit this line.  I don’t.  I believe that Christ spent his Holy Saturday in harrowing Hell, which means He was rescuing from Hell those who believed in Him yet who died before His time.  1 Peter 3:19-20 states that Christ preached to the imprisoned spirits.  Spirits can only be imprisoned in a supernatural environment.  The only two supernatural environments that I know are Heaven and Hell.

“The quick and the dead”:  “Quick” is another old hold-over in the English language.  “Quick” means living.  Christ will judge the living and the dead at his Second Coming, when this world ends.

“The holy catholic church”:  Saying the Apostles’ Creed does not mean a person is swearing allegiance to the Catholic Church.  Just like ghost and quick, catholic has a special meaning of universal

While we have many religions that are connected to Christianity, we all have a universal belief in Christ Jesus as our savior through His grace.  In Ephesians 4:5, Paul writes that we Christians have “one Lord, one faith, one baptism.”  Christ is our Lord.  Our faith is in Him.  We are baptized through Him as a public declaration of our faith.

This phrase, by the way, is the reason that I think the religion I grew up in avoided the Apostles’ Creed like the plague.  (And that’s not a cliché;  that’s truth.)

“The resurrection of the body”:  At Christ’s Second Coming, the “dead in Christ will rise” (1 Thessalonians 4:16)

More Belief in the Creed

Is there any part of the Creed that you do not believe?

Every part of the Creed has a direct connection to the Bible.

Are you like Thomas Jefferson with his Bible, picking and choosing the parts you like and don’t like?

Should we be like Thomas Jefferson?

Or should we take the whole Bible, using it as our guide?  And the uncomfortable parts are there to help us grow?

The Creed helps us understand our faith.

It reminds us of the great tenet of God’s love.  For what other reason would Christ have sacrificed Himself?  For what other reason would we have the communion of saints?  And for what other reason does He forgive us of our sins?

How to Remember the Creed

Start with God.

Then Jesus.

Then eight parts about His life and death and afterlife.  Notice the sequence.

Then six beliefs we have about our faith.  The third part of the Trinity, two on the community, and three things we are most grateful for.

Learn each part, then put them all together.

Tomorrow is Bright Tuesday.

Join us tomorrow for a look at the “Gloria Patri”, a little song that packs power.

If you hesitate to learn the Apostles’ Creed because you haven’t officially memorized in years and it’s sooooo looooonnnngggg, I will first tell you that you memorize songs on the radio all the time.  Then I will tell you that the “Gloria Patri” is a good starter for memorization.

Hopefully, Bright Tuesday’s blog will be short.  (This one started to be short.  Oh well.)

Leave a Reply