November 2013

and in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord

And that really is the question, isn't it? Who is Jesus for us? The Apostles' Creed tries to help us answer that question, first by piling onto Jesus' name a bunch of divine titles: Christ, only Son, our Lord. Maybe if we understood something about this name and these titles, we would understand something about our savior.

maker of heaven and earth

Oh, if we could only be the image of God and live into the likeness of God! If we could only learn how to use our power to create and to care rather than to control; to bless rather than to boss, to realize our interdependence rather than exercise dominion. We might just rediscover our proper place in God's good Creation.

almighty

So the cross of Jesus Christ challenges all of our assumptions about how God's power works in the world. It works in weakness. Now, how does that work for you? How does the cross help us deal with something like cancer? I know that I'm not alone in wondering why an almighty God would create a world where cancer kills almost 8 million people a year. Cancer is so widespread it almost seems to be a built-in feature of life on this planet. And in fact it is, when you consider life from an evolutionary perspective. It's ironic that gene mutation, the cellular process that drives evolution and makes life on earth possible, is the same process that makes cancer inevitable. If God had somehow made our immune system so strong that it could kill off all mutant cells, we human beings would never have evolved in the first place. But understanding the science doesn't help us come to terms with the sickness.

in God the Father

So do we believe in this God who is our Father? And, if we do, what does it matter? To answer those questions, let's put the two together. We said that we have to believe that God is far beyond us so that we won't make God look just like us. But we also need a God who is a Father to us so that we can dare to believe that God loves us. And—this is important—only when we love God as our Father (or our Mother) can we love others as our sisters and our brothers.