“We Believe In One God”
Genesis 2:1-9; Nicene Creed
I want to start by asking you a question… What do you believe? What sort of things do you think about, especially during the month of October, when you look about at the earth around us? What do you believe about God?
The church is a place known for knowing God. Some people will look at us and think, “There is where we find out everything about God.” Or some people might think, “Well, that could be a place to learn a bit about God.”
We gather in our churches because of this wonder, this journey of seeking to know more about God. Why is it we are drawn to this place? Why do we want to come and here the same thing each and every week? It’s kind of funny when you think about it, because if we were a television show who followed the exact same formula each and every week with hardly any variance ever, we would have been cancelled long ago!
Yet we come. For some strange, unexplainable reason we keep coming back into this place. A place where we can ask questions, a place where we feel we might learn something and grow. But why? Why do we do it? What do we believe will happen if we stop?
I thought it might be helpful if we took a look at some of our foundational statements that have helped form the Christian church. There are a couple of them which have been historically adopted, such as the Apostles’ Creed, but I decided that we might take a look at the Nicene Creed. It’s not one we use a lot, at least not in the United Church of Canada, but it says a lot about what our foundations are. In the case of the Nicene Creed, it’s focus is on the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the trinity, the three-fold form of God.
But first, we should probably recite it together before we begin to look deeper into this statement of faith.
We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, light from light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven,
was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary
and became truly human.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father [and the Son],
who with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. Amen.
This morning we’re going to look at just the first little bit of the Creed, the section relating to the first member of the trinity, God.
“We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.”
These are four simple lines that seem so straight forward, and yes they are.
We read the words from the book of Genesis this morning, the words which echo the creation of all things on the earth. Plants, animals, man and woman, all created by our amazing God. Just two weeks ago our children came down and reminded us of this great beauty we see each and every day. They told us the story of creation, they showed us the beauty of the earth in a video, and they built a scene which showed us how it all came together.
We all know there are arguments out there that say we are here pretty much because of an accident. That this world on which we live, by some fluke arrangements of molecules developed life. We came together, we evolved, it was just the things happened. Science tells us it happened this way, therefore it must be true.
But I have to question this approach. Yes I believe science can tell us a lot about who we are and where we came from. It’s part of our critical mind. We need proof for belief.
We also know that there are many things we cannot know. There are so many questions still left unanswered. What came before the big bang? What caused it? There are plenty of theories out there, but there is no solid proof.
Look how complex the world is. Look at the vast array of life forms there are. Animals of all sizes, plants, insects, birds, fish, mammals… so much diversity, so much beauty.
Look at the human body, or any living thing. Look at how complex it is. The brain, the nervous system, digestion, reproduction, and it comes in all shapes and sizes.
Look at how different each reproduction of this system is! Every one of us is our own being, we have our own knowledge base, we have our own skills and abilities, our own emotions.
I know I pick on our organist once in a while, using her as examples, so I’m going to do it again. Have you seen her play the organ? I mean looking behind this little curtain we use to hide her (why, I have no idea?). If you could see her play, you would see how she plays not just with her hands, but did you know she also plays notes with her feet? So she’s playing with hands and feet, turning pages, reading the music, singing the words, occasionally pulling a stop here or there… want me to go back there and try to see how it sounds when I give it a go?
Now yes, she is very well trained to do what it is she does behind this little curtain. It’s kind of Wizard of Oz like isn’t it? One person behind the curtain working away to create this beautiful arrangement of sound we hear each week.
But even with all that training, she first had to have the passion and skills to be able to do all those things together. Not all of us are cut out for it. Even with the best professionals, teachers and instruments could all of us be as accomplished at using this tool? No, probably not. Yet our organist is.
The same could be said for mechanics, computer programmers, doctors, teachers, any profession. We are created for certain tasks and the parts of our bodies are wired to work together in a way to make that happen.
I’m not convinced all this can happen “by accident”, my little brain cannot fathom how that can happen. In my opinion, there has to be some sort of creative force behind all of this, and for me, I give the credit to our God who has created and is creating. Or as captured in the Nicene Creed, “the maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.”
There’s also an interesting term in this creed that has caused some problems in the church in recent years.
The term I’m referring to is “Father”. The term “Father” is used a lot in the Bible in reference to God, but for some in the church today, they feel as though this term is actually making it hard for people to connect with God.
I have a father. I am a father. I know while my father tried his very best to raise me up he did make mistakes on the way. I know no matter how hard I try to be the best father I can be to my own children, I too will make mistakes. It’s part of who we are. Even though we believe God has created us, we know we are not perfect. And one way to know for sure we aren’t, is to be a parent. Boy, I can’t wait for the teenage years so it can be pointed out to me over and over again.
I also understand that not everyone has had a great relationship with their father. Some fathers were tyrants. Some may have been abusive. Others may have been neglectful. Some may have been absent. This does cause people to have negative reactions to the word ‘father’. I do not blame them in the least when I hear some of the stories they experienced.
I also have grown to understand these negative emotions around parental figures can be pushed onto the Eternal Father we claim to believe in. People who get caught up in the rejection and abuse from their earthly fathers have a tough time relating to our heavenly Father because they project the relationship they have with their parental figure onto God. It’s easy to do, in fact I’d have to say it’s natural for us. We easily transfer our emotional baggage onto a term and then that term can become a hindrance in other relationships in our lives.
But we also need to understand how God is described as a father in the Bible. We need to look at passages like Luke 11:11-13 and hear Jesus say, “What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
God, the Father, knows what His children need. God knows what His children are looking for. God doesn’t dispense hatred and abuse. God gives good things. God gives love. God gives the Holy Spirit, the gift of a guide and companion for the journey.
God is not an earthly father, one who makes mistakes or fails us. God is the perfect Father. God is the one who can make all things right. He is the one who takes us, loves us, and gives back to us despite all our flaws.
God is the almighty creator, who makes all things good, just as He did in the beginning of creation. God our Father is the one who can take away our pain and help heal relationships with those who have failed us.
This is the foundation of our faith. This is the first, basic understanding of what it means to believe in God.
God is our Father, our creator, the maker of all things, seen and unseen.
We believe in one God, the one Jesus told us to call, “Our Father in heaven.”
This is where it begins, with the healing relationship with the one who gave all things life, and continues to give life and love evermore to those who call on His name.
If you want to know more about a healing relationship with God the Father, I encourage you to check out a couple of websites created through the ministries initiated by Barry Adams, man who came to know the full protential of his calling once he came to the realization that God is the perfect Father: My Dad is the Best Dad in the World, FatherHeart.Tv, FathersLoveLetter.com.