How many slogans can you remember? Sadly, I can recall dozens, particularly from cereal commercials when I was a kid. “Frosted lucky charms, they’re magically delicious!“, “Stomper 4 x 4’s you can try to stop ’em“, or for some reason this one is bouncing around in my empty head “GE…we bring good things to life.” Really you are getting cheated just reading these slogans, I have the songs down too. It’d be worth the price of admission for you the hear it.
The church I attend (and I’m sure the one yours too) has a slogan. Although, slogan sounds so campy. Rather we call it a mission statement. There are good mission statements and bad ones. I love ours. It fits for everyone and is not intimidating for newbies. “Helping people take their next step toward Christ.” Eight words that communicate so much.
Slogans are great; they are memorable; and they communicate a message (some more profound than others). I am reading an interesting little book right now called Beyond Smells & Bells which is a primer on Christian liturgy’s background and meaning. Having grown up Catholic, I am quite familiar with the liturgy’s slogans of the faith, which are called creeds.
Creeds tend to be short-ish and memorable. Not as short as our present day mission statements, but a summary of doctrine in a few sentences. “We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen.” That’s how the Nicene Creed starts. Not that creeds of the faith don’t serve a purpose now, but hundreds of years ago, for an illiterate church, they would be the only way to carry the Gospel home with you, share it with friend, and remember the truths about God.
It is so easy to forget the truths about God when life slaps you in the face. For me, coming to experience the love of God rather than just know it in my head. As I walk this journey, that is sometimes a truth that gets lost as I am learning to trust, yet I don’t want it to. Ever. So I’ve developed a creed to remind me and I’m going to share it with you. Nothing profound, but it communicates what I need to hear when what I need most to do is stand firm.
The Father adopted you. The Son died for you. The Spirit lives in you. Amen.
This statement (developed on a long car ride) helps me confront my fears. I don’t have to be afraid of not being loved. I’m adopted. Think of how a child must feel (if they are old enough to be cognisent) to be adopted. Loved. Someone is choosing me. Someone is making a place in their world for me. Someone is promising to take care of me.
Nor do I fear inadequacy when I remember this statement. Jesus died for me. My fear of disappointing other is won over by the Spirit living in me. With the Spirit God is marking me, making me His own. Taking ownership and responsibility. If others are disappointed as I live in the Spirit, they are disappointed with God, not with me.
No, it’s not the Nicene Creed, but I’m the only one that needs to use it. It’s tailored to me. It is truth. And God is using it so that I can carry on the journey toward strenght with fewer interruptions.