In this age of “Christian Right” politics, “Christian TV”, and “Christian” bumper stickers and T-shirts, it is easy to forget that Following Jesus is an ancient, Eastern faith.
When I need to remember this, I meditate on the Nicene creed. “What is that” you ask? The First Council of Nicea convened in 325 AD, under the guidance of Constantine – the Emperor responsible (mostly) for the explosive growth of Christian faith in the fourth century. This council originally met to resolve early questions about the nature of Jesus’ diety (not IF Jesus was divine, but some questions about HOW). Out of this historic church meeting came some key decisions about our faith – like settling on when to celebrate the Reserrection. But in hindsight, the greatest accomplishment came in the first agreement on the consensus of the doctrines central to following Jesus.
Below is the Nicene Creed…
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:
by the power of the Holy Spirit
he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary,
and was made man.
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.
With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified.
He 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.