Showing posts from October, 2017

I believe in Jesus Christ who ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father

This article of the Creed has power to intrigue the mind, warm the heart and to expand our vision of God and of humanity.

It can be a confusing truth. I will not forget my first visit to the Chapel of the Ascension in Walsingham where Our Lord’s feet are stuck in the ceiling with his toe nails visible on the soles of his feet!

To see humanity raised into God - no art can capture this wonder! Nor can our words. Here is one attempt by St Gregory of Nyssa: How can you admire the heavens, my son, when you see that you are more permanent than they? For the heavens pass away, but you will abide for all eternity with him who is forever.  In these words the Saint speaks of the implications for believers of Christ’s ascension. Through the centuries people have dwelled upon this doctrine as a means of polishing up their vision of God and humanity into fuller magnificence.

Jesus is Lord – three words sum up the Apostles Creed.

Jesus is Lord.  The carpenter born in Nazareth who shows the world th…

I believe in Jesus who on the third day rose again

A house was built in a forest clearing with six-foot concrete foundations. In time an oak sapling burst through the floor. Such is the natural power released in the coming to life of a tiny acorn.

As the little acorn crushed the concrete so the Son of God has "crushed death by his death" in the greatest of all imaginable revolutions.

The theologian Karl Rahner speaks of this revolution using the image of a volcano: Jesus' resurrection is like the first eruption of a volcano which shows that God's fire already burns in the innermost depths of the earth, and that everything shall be brought to a holy glow in his light. He rose to show that this has already begun. The new creation had already started…

As a volcanic eruption shows us fire at the heart of the earth the resurrection of Jesus reveals the glorious reality that is ours in God.

It is impossible to weigh up the historical figure of Jesus without evaluating the claim he rose from the dead that takes centre pla…

I believe in Jesus Christ who descended to the dead

'I delivered to you of first importance what I also received', Paul states, 'that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, [and] that he was buried …'  (1 Corinthians 15:3-4a).  'Being put to death in the flesh' Peter says Christ 'was made alive in the spirit in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison' (1 Peter 3:18b). The Apostles’ Creed brings the teaching of Peter and Paul together as it affirms belief in Jesus Christ who descended to the dead.

On Holy Saturday – between Good Friday and Easter Sunday – God incarnate lay in a tomb. He lay there to extend the salvation he brought to earth to the faithful departed robbing the land of the dead of its prisoners.  It is the day of the so-called ‘harrowing of hell’.

In the Church of Santa Maria Novella in Florence there is a beautiful 15th Century picture by Masaccio of the Trinity. It shows Jesus on the Cross being handed over to us by the Father. This picture used to hang …

I believe in Jesus Christ who suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried

The story is told of a disaster that happened when two men were out sky diving. The apprentice sky diver’s parachute failed. His selfless trainer managed to reach him across the sky. The two men descended at great velocity suspended from the trainer’s parachute. Seconds before they landed the trainer moved to be underneath his apprentice and cushioned his impact at the cost of his own life.

One man died in place of his colleague. He took the full impact due to him.

In his crucifixion Jesus bore the impact of the consequences of the sins of all people in every age. For lo between our sins and their reward we set the passion of thy Son Our Lord (Bright) The crucifixion is to the eye of faith God's irrevocable gift of himself.  “The Son of God loved me and gave himself for me…Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by being cursed for our sake since scripture says: Anyone hanged is accursed" (Galatians 2v20b, 3v13b).

Substitute, sacrifice and triumph

There are several theor…

I believe….in Jesus Christ God’s only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary

“As a magnifying glass concentrates the rays of the sun into a little burning knot of heat that can set fire to a dry leaf or a piece of paper, so the mystery of Christ in the Gospel concentrates the ray of God's light and fire to a point that sets fire to the spirit of man.”

Thomas Merton's image of Christ as a magnifying glass bringing God to a point sums up this article of the Creed. It marries with the traditional representation of the announcing (Annunciation) of Christ's birth to Mary by the Archangel Gabriel.  The light of God streams into the Virgin so that God the Son can take human nature.

I believe in a God who is above and beyond us but who has entered history in the person of Jesus. He is real to me because in Jesus Christ he has come down to my level to set fire to my spirit.

The Bible says God so loved the world that he gave us his only Son so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life (John 3v16).

During the reign of Caesar Augustus in what bec…