On Easter weekend, I posted a string of status reports that were meditations - or rather triggers for meditations - about the events of Holy Week. It occurred to me that I would want to keep a record of these posts, so I’m copying them here.
Maundy Thursday meditation: Would you have been able to stay awake "another hour" in the Garden, after the seder dinner with your friends?
Maundy Thursday meditation: It's late, you're outside the jail your friend / teacher / leader was taken to after arrest, and in the crowd outside, someone sees you and says "Hey, you were with that guy!" What do you say?
Good Friday meditation: So there he is, your friend / teacher / leader, being publically tortured to death - can you endure sticking there nine hours watching him die?
"Dead Saturday" (what DO you call the day before Easter) meditation: Jesus is dead. It's the end of the world as you know it. Turn out the lights.
(A number of friends informed me that it is officially called "Holy Saturday" - which once they said it, I realized I knew. But it always seemed a bit incongruous to me - it probably did not feel very "holy" to the disciples.)
Easter morning meditation: The tomb is empty! What just happened? Even the Roman guards are gone!
Easter thoughts: Everyone's buzzing about it, but it's too absolutely incredible! I'm not going to believe it until I see it! .............. Ooops. WOW! Nevermind.
The response of my friends to those posts was gratifying. On the one hand, are we supposed to be having "fun" in thinking about what Jesus went through? But on the other, I like the challenge of considering what the events must have felt like for Christ’s followers.
Which leads to the other matter I mean to post about.
The last two years, I have served on the Worship & Music Committee at church, and have greatly enjoyed it. The issues we have to deal with are much more "my sort of thing" than the other service options. One of the things we have done is to insert occasional "Worship Notes" in the Sunday bulletins, about elements of worship. One such was an explanation of All Saint’s Day. Another was an introduction to the Apostles Creed. Our pastor did a series of sermons based on the Creed, and we included the insert on the Sunday he began the series. I was the one who wrote the introduction, and liked it enough that I decided I would post it here.
About the Apostles Creed
The word "creed" comes from the Latin word "credo" which means "I believe."
As the early Church grew, and the days of the Apostles passed further into history, the simple statement "Jesus is Lord" became cluttered with various disputes. There were those who contended that because Jesus was divine, his body was an illusion, as was the crucifixion. There were those who contended that the Old Testament prophecies did not apply to Jesus and that he was not divine. There were those who contended that there was esoteric special knowledge only masters knew. Too many people were arguing that what they believed was right and what others believed was wrong.
To counteract all these conflicting ideas of what it meant to be a Christian, Church leaders went back to the basics of scripture. They drew up a list of simple statements about the Faith, to be taught to new believers as they came to baptism. These statements were called a creed", because they are what "I believe" as a Christian.
The various creeds accepted by the Church address different issues of the faith which need defining. The Nicene Creed, for instance, offers definition of the Holy Trinity. But the oldest and most basic of the creeds is the Apostles Creed.
If ever you feel at a loss to describe to a non-believer what it is you believe as a Christian, there is no more compact a declaration (short of "Jesus is Lord") than the Apostles Creed. It is good to be able to stand, before the Lord and the world, and say clearly, "I believe..."
I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilot, was crucified, dead, and buried. He descended into hell. The third day he arose from the dead and ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty, from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting. Amen.