The Nicene Creed calls me to “Credo,” to “I believe,” but who am I?
“I” am someone who listens, acting on what I hear. “I” am a social being. “I” am not understood apart from my time or nation. I am a person not understood apart from my religious community existing across centuries. The Church is eternal. Deuteronomy 5: “Moses called, “Hear Israel, (That idea of creed as listening again), the customs and the Judicial Precedents I speak into your ears this day, to learn them and guard to do them.
The Personal Name your Mighty Judge cut for you, a Social Contract at Mt. Sword. Not with your fathers did the Personal Name cut this social contract, but with you who are standing here, alive, this day… I am the Personal Name your Mighty Judge who brought you from the land of Oppression, the house of Menial Labor.
The saints exist, here, now, today. “I” live in community drawing existence from them. “I” exist in community, which has suffered oppression. I exist, rescued from the suffering of my ancestors by time. They suffered the Irish Potato famine, the revolutions of 19th Century Europe, the slavery of the south, the sweatshops of the north, the chaos of the west. I am rescued from there, coming here, by the actions of God through my ancestors. “I” live, a member of community, bringing its salvation to others, or I soon do not exist. The Nicene Creed calls me to “Credo.”
To believe I must live, believe, act on belief, and bring life to our world. “I” means one who listens, acting on what he hears, “I” am a social being, bound to community. “I” cannot be understood apart from my time or nation.
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame, with conquering limbs astride from land to land; here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp …beside the golden door!” (The New Colossus, Emma Lazarus)
My heritage is that of a people rescued from over there, wherever over their might be, to over here. I am called to remember what it was like to be over there so God is not bound to give a refresher course and send me back over there. I am called to remember the poor, the orphan, those without father or mother for whatever reason, and the widow.
I am a person who through my ancestors has suffered and suffered greatly. The blood of Jesus Christ and a God brought those relatives from over there to over here. Through this act God has also rescued me. I am the creature of that rescue. Therefore, I believe. That is what I mean by “Credo.”