What Do We Believe?
December 8, 2021
This summer, I gave a series of sermons on The Apostles’ Creed, the oldest statement of Christian faith outside of the Bible itself. For a variety of reasons, I didn’t quite finish the series. I owe you all two or three! I did this to demonstrate how my faith in God is very much grounded in a nearly two thousand year-old tradition of following Jesus as Lord and Savior, and loving the God Jesus loved and proclaimed. I also did this to demonstrate that faith and religion evolves and changes over time for many reasons, and a faith at home in our times, with our concerns, needs to sometimes creatively engage the ancient creeds, honoring their truths while updating their blindspots.
Now and then, different people will do something with the ancient creeds that emphasizes different beautiful aspects of faith in God in Christ. In that spirit, just before Christmas, when we celebrate the birth of Jesus, who lived for a while as an exile, I offer you this beautiful creed as well. It’s a rephrasing of a 5th century Christian creed, called the Nicene creed. It’s written by the now retired Cuban-American poet and pastor Jose Luis Casal.
The Immigrant’s Creed
By Jose Luis Casal
I believe in Almighty God,
who guided the people in exile and in exodus,
the God of Joseph in Egypt and Daniel in Babylon,
the God of foreigners and immigrants.
I believe in Jesus Christ, a displaced Galilean,
who was born away from his people and his home, who fled
his country with his parents when his life was in danger.
When he returned to his own country he suffered under the oppression of Pontius Pilate,
the servant of a foreign power. Jesus was persecuted, beaten, tortured, and unjustly
condemned to death.
But on the third day Jesus rose from the dead,
not as a scorned foreigner but to offer us citizenship in God’s kingdom.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the eternal immigrant from God’s kingdom among us,
who speaks all languages, lives in all countries, and reunites all races.
I believe that the Church is the secure home
for foreigners and for all believers.
I believe that the communion of saints begins
when we embrace all God’s people in all their diversity.
I believe in forgiveness, which makes us all equal before God,
and in reconciliation, which heals our brokenness.
I believe that in the Resurrection
God will unite us as one people
in which all are distinct and all are alike at the same time.
I believe in life eternal, in which no one will be foreigner
but all will be citizens of the kingdom
where God reigns forever and ever. Amen.