I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth.
And in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord;
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;*
the third day he rose from the dead;
he ascended into heaven,
and sitteth at the right hand of the Father Almighty.
from thence he shall come again to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic** Church,
the communion of saints,
The past month has been a watershed for the discussion of “identity”, what with Bruce Jenner and Rachel Dolezal. And Anna Waldherr, of A Lawyer’s Prayer, wrote an article about the white supremacist Christian Identity movement. We talk a lot about identity in our society today, but the Apostle’s Creed cuts across all of gibberish by giving us one identity.
There are many descriptors that might apply me, that would help someone attempt to define me. Here are some that are applicable: I am male, I am Scotch-Irish, I am caucasian, I am a librarian, I am college-educated, I am Southern, I am politically conservative. Different demographic descriptors are used to define, categorize and differentiate us. A female Chinese acrobat should have nothing in common with me, and we should see the world differently. These descriptors, though, are not my identity or definition.
The one thing that defines me is my faith; I am a Christian. Male, Scotch-Irish, caucasian, college, American Southern? Yes, but all are subservient to my identity as a Christian. And because of that, because, for Christians, Christ is our identity, similarities and/or differences don’t matter. A female Chinese acrobat who is a Christian is a sister to a male, Southern librarian who is a Christian.
A good example of this is the woman I mentioned in my first paragraph, Anna Waldherr. Ms. Waldherr is a self-described liberal lawyer; I am somewhere to the right of Genghis Khan. Despite our political differences, I find many of her posts challenging and thought-provoking, and she has commented on some of my posts, so I know that she reads my posts, as well. Why? Because we speak the same language and share in “the communion of saints.”
Back in the Cold War era, one of Billy Graham’s associate evangelists (for some reason I want to say it was Grady Wilson, but I can’t be sure), was doing some advance work in an Iron Curtain country. One evening, as he was walking back to his hotel, Wilson(?) saw a man turn a corner a couple blocks ahead of him and start to walk in his direction. Wilson(?) didn’t feel particularly threatened, but was wary as he continued down the street. As the two got nearer, Wilson(?) heard the man whistling, and recognized the tune as a Christian hymn. Wilson immediately started whistling the hymn as he approached the man, whose face lit up with a big grin. It turned out that the man didn’t speak a word of English, so Wilson(?) couldn’t say anything to him, but for just a moment, each experienced a moment of family reunion.
Grady Wilson, a southern preacher, and an anonymous eastern european man shared the same identity and so rejoiced in each other. As Christians, they experienced the truth of the Creed’s statement, “the communion of saints.”