Not too much religion, vicarSep 3rd, 2009 | By Ian Poulton | Category: Spirituality
Some fault had crept into the email programme; it had to be closed before download something to fix it. There were eleven thousand items in the box, eleven thousand, how many words would that be?
Some of the words were trivial, pointless, better never written; others were surprising, others were disturbing.
One email contained an affirmation of faith, a creed written for World AIDS Day a few years ago. It had about it the beautiful simplicity and theological profundity of the Iona Community from which it had come. I had thought to use it in a television broadcast, but was advised in plain terms that it had not been approved by the bishops and it should be replaced with conventional words. I vowed never again to participate in televised worship.
Sorting through the old emails, I pondered again the unapproved words:
We believe in God,
who inhabits eternity
and made the world
and its creatures out of love.
We believe in Jesus Christ,
bone of our bone,
flesh of our flesh.
He came in the body
that every life
and all flesh might be sanctified.
He touched those
who felt untouchable,
loved those who felt unloveable,
in order that,
through suffering love,
might come on earth.
He rose from the grave
as living proof
that what is laid down in faith
will be raised in glory.
He ascended to heaven
that he might be present everywhere on earth.
We believe in the Holy Spirit,
who leads us always
towards the truth,
who inspires us
to reach out to one another
and to undertake scientific research,
who gives gifts to all people
for the healing of every nation.
We celebrate the witness
of the Church,
the life in our bodies,
the yearning in our souls,
the promise of good things for those
who love the Lord.
If those words are not what we are about, then what is it that we do believe?
Is Jesus locked up inside words from the Fourth Century much safer, much less troubling?
If he’s not someone who actually makes a difference, then let’s be honest and call it a day.