Friday, March 9th. The 17th day of Lent.
It’s been an interesting thing for this lifelong Baptist to be attending an Episcopal Church. I can’t say if we will join. I have a lot of ambivalence about church in general these days. I wonder what percentage of what goes on in churches is anything Jesus would care about. I’m not sure what the answer to that question is.
I do know that Christian worship is so deeply rooted in my heart that I don’t know how to live without it. And the beauty of high church music and liturgy continually breaks my heart. Seriously, anyone with an aesthetic sense could appreciate the worship event at Saint Luke’s. I am being seduced by this church. Her beauty draws me back again and again, even though I fear joining the church or making any move that might bring me in contact with the organization behind it. Do I want to see the cogs and wheels that turn and grind to make this kind of production on a Sunday morning? I don’t think so.
Is it okay to just sit and meditate and listen and let her romance me for a little while before I’m pushed to make a commitment?
One of the big moments at Saint Luke’s each Sunday is the community recitation of the Nicene Creed. That’s new for me. Baptists are a non-creedal people, allegedly. At least they don’t have an official creed. Technically each Baptist Christian is permitted to read the scriptures and come up with his or her own ideas and beliefs. It doesn’t work out that way because there are unofficial creeds that are enforced in unofficial ways, but that’s the idea.
But I’m cool with the Nicene Creed. That’s kind of an arrogant thing to say, actually. As if my opinion matters in this. But I’m okay saying it with the gathered community on Sundays. Part of being a Christian is submitting yourself to a series of theological propositions. I don’t know if I believe all of them, but I do believe in walking with the community. And I don’t now what the hell is going on with God and the Cosmos and humanity. I don’t even know how a toaster works. So in my ignorance and as a symbol of my commitment, I say the Creed.
Except for one part. I can’t bring myself to say the Filioque Clause, the part of the Creed that shattered the Church of Jesus Christ and split her East from West. It’s not that I have any argument with the theology in the clause. I mean, once we started saying that Jesus was God we began down a road from which there is no turning back. And I don’t see that saying the Holy Spirit proceeds from God or from God and Jesus makes much difference. But for me that one clause symbolizes 2000 years of Christian people arguing over words. And not even important words, in my opinion, but little technical theological things that I just can’t find a reason to care about.
So I don’t say it for that reason. It’s my way of letting God know that I’m not behind this obsession with theology and words.
I also think that my resistance here is symbolic of my unwillingness to completely check my mind and my own personal viewpoint at the door. There is still some Baptist in me, I guess.