The Spirit in the Apostles’ Creed

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Every week at my church, we say the Apostle’s Creed. THe Creed is a very old tradition, based on an even older tradition, where one recites the Creed to claim faith in God, his Son Jesus Christ and his Holy Spirit.

I’ve been saying this creed since I was 13, as it was required for me to memorize this creed for confirmation.  And only recently have I begun to think about what it means. Here is the creed itself:

I believe in God,the Father almighty,Creator of heaven and earth,and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,born of the Virgin Mary,suffered under Pontius Pilate,was crucified, died and was buried;he descended into hell;on the third day he rose again from the dead;he ascended into heaven,and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty;from there he will come to judge the living and the dead.I believe in the Holy Spirit,the holy catholic Church,the communion of saints,the forgiveness of sins,the resurrection of the body,and life everlasting. Amen.

Here some things I try to remember:

1) Notice how God is defined. Father, Creator. Not how He is defined much through the Old Testament: the God of Abraham, Isaac & Jacob. There are theories as to why, and I don’t think that its exclusion of these Hebrew names means they are NOT important. But it is interesting.

2) Notice the Apostle’s Creed talks about Jesus’ story. It’s key to understanding where the creed comes from and it is one that only Christians say.  I’m not saying it should be different.

3) Bodily Resurrection– we say it, we have no idea what it means. But it says what it says–resurrection of the body.  Real bodily resurrection.  That’s crazy, but thank God He sent His son and we have this.

4) the word catholic  means universal, just as the Catholic Church means the universal church.  I’m not catholic, but it is the appropriate word for this text.  I love saying this when I speak the creed.

I’m still working on making this creed both living and breathing in my mind.  For the first time today, I actually felt The Spirit shutter through my body when I spoke this. I’m not sure why. We had been taking about Romans 8:38 and how nothing separates us from God and for the first time, a creed did not separate us. It was beautiful.

Thank you Spirit, Thank you Christ, Thank you God!

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