Those words of Dorothy McRae McMahon which we used last night came under the heading of "Creed" and I could feel just a slightly baffled resistance in the congregation as they began to say the words. Creeds, surely, begin with what we know about God...they aren't, on the whole, a description of the way things are.
But perhaps they should be.
Rooting God's reality in the world of stubbed toes, struggles and recoveries gives us a point of reference that most of us need.
To begin with "I believe in God" might sometimes be a bridge too far.
There's a wonderful story, whose details I've rather forgotten, about someone trying to find their way through the Creeds with integrity. After long discussion, soul searching and consideration of every line, every clause, every word, all that was left was
A couple of weeks ago I was hunting through long closed theology files and discovered the work we did when we were training as a Local Ministry Team in The Rissingtons, more than 10 years ago. We were a strange little group. A retired RAF officer, a retired builder, a full time granny (who seemed to be busier with her assorted grandchildren than I was with my own school-aged brood), an unhappy secretary, the vicar and me...wrestling with my own vocation and trying my best to jump through the numerous Anglican hoops that were ranged before me.
The whole process of being a team was both baffling, frustrating and rewarding...I'm not sure that we ever really grasped what we migth be for...the "vicar's helper" model was always lurking just below the surface. But we learned so much and grew so much as we explored, tripped one another up and dealt with each other's anxieties and frustrations.
At one point on our journey we decided to write our own Creed. I was proud of it then...and I'm still quite fond of it today.
What do you reckon?
"We believe in God, and we will work to bring about his Kingdom of wholeness restored.
We believe in the God of Christmas, who comes as one of us,
so we commit ourselves to encourage, not condemn.
We believe in the God of Good Friday, who endures the cruelty of our world,
so we commit ourselves to suffer alongside the suffering.
We believe in the God of Easter, who bursts into new life,
so we commit ourselves to laughter and hope.
We believe in the God of Pentecost, who always surprises us,
So we commit ourselves to take risks with God."