Rich Mullins, an American singer and song writer, had a great song called "Creed" in which he articulated his beliefs or creed. As this year comes to a close and a new year represents a chance to start anew, his lyrics have been wafting through my mind.
"I believe in God the Father
Almighty Maker of Heaven and Maker of Earth
And in Jesus Christ His only begotten Son our Lord
He was conceived by the Holy Spirit
Born of the virgin Mary
Suffered under Pontius Pilate
He was crucified and dead and buried
According to Wordnik.com, a creed is a formal statement of religious belief, a confession of faith. This song seems aptly named as he lists off what he believes to the striking tones of the dulcimer.
And I believe what I believe is what makes me what I am
I did not make it no it is making me
It is the very truth of God and not the invention of any man
Rich's recital of facts that he believes, a system of beliefs, an architecture, is something that holds him up, without which he would be a different person altogether. And yet, that system of beliefs is not self-created, not a smorgasbord or a potpourri insofar as he is able.I believe that He who suffered was crucified buried and dead
He descended into hell and on the third day rose again
He ascended into Heaven where He sits at God's mighty right hand
I believe that He's returning
To judge the quick and the dead of the sons of men
Rich died in a car crash in 1997 but his lyrics live on. They remind me of a passage in Ephesians 6: 10-18 that admonishes Christians to pick up certain equipment to be strong. Two verses in particular stand out as being relevant to the idea of a creed.
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.....14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist....16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
So if creed is essential equipment, what creed do I have for 2010? I cannot argue with Rich's creed at all. But perhaps I can add to it where my experience of God and his character has been personal, where the type ceases to be font and becomes squishy with tears and pink with healing.
We might be reading forever if I tried to do all that here now. But I can start with 1 piece and add other pieces over time. The one most on my heart
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28)
The story of Joseph, favored son of Isaac, sold into slavery, promoted to administrator over Potiphar's household, unjustly accused and thrown in jail, promoted to administrator in jail, forgotten for years there, then promoted to Pharaoh's right hand man to prepare a way for Israel to live through famine is one of my favorite stories. It shows that even when really bad things happen to Joseph, God works them to Joseph's good and to His people's good.
I have seen with my own eyes this come true over the last 18 months as I have battled setbacks, part my own fault and part due to other's bad intent. As a result, this is part of my personal creed. That even when bad things happen to me, whether through my own fault or other's intent, God can work it to my good. Having experienced this with my own tears, I can look at the things I fear in the future and remind myself, even if this bad thing happens, God can work it to my good, to our good. This creed is part of my equipment for life. It's part of what makes me what I am.
I did not make it, no it is making me.
What's your creed? What holds you together? What makes you what you are?