(62) Amen

When I say the amen at the end of the Creed, it is really the third time I have said, “I believe.” At the beginning I said, “I believe in God,” then later, “I believe in the Holy Ghost.” This little Hebrew word amen means, “So be it,” or, “I agree with that,” or, “That’s what I sincerely believe.” I’m glad there is an amen at the end of the Creed because I need some way of expressing my faith all at once in everything that the Creed says to me about Jesus Christ. I always say this last word firmly and triumphantly, for I really do believe in the God and the gospel I find in the Creed.

I believe in the Creed because I believe in Jesus Christ. There is something of him in every phase. Without him there is nothing to hold the church’s teachings together—no string for the beads. He is the whole message we have to give to the world. We are to be witnesses identifying him as God’s gift to man. Too often we have been pointing to everything else but Christ. I have found that people immediately argue with me when I talk to them about the church, about the Bible, the sacraments, the ministry, liturgy, theologies, denominations, even Christianity and Christendom. But not many quarrel with the life Christ lived. If we are saved by participating in his life rather than by accepting an interpretation of his life or of these other matters, we can stop arguing and start living as brothers. When church people center their thoughts, conversation, sermons, and services everywhere else but on Christ, we can only expect disintegration, disunity, and despair. Today many thinkers are calling for a new reformation. But any reformation which does something less than give Christ his proper central place will be merely a new variety of the oldest folly. To put Christ in the center of everything Christian would be such a novel and radical move that it might even raise the dead! The world might welcome the new emphasis much more than churchmen would. It’s so hard to change our old ways, even if they are strangling us.

If my thoughts on the Creed help anyone to pull his thoughts and life together around Christ, I shall be glad. May voice after voice throughout the world join me in saying Amen to the Creed, which is Christ.

It is all too easy to wander away from Christ into all sorts of vague speculations about fringe matters. What about predestination? Who will be saved? What about the heathen and the other religions? It is also easy to become lost in struggling with the problems of our personal and social life. When we lose touch with Christ for whatever reason, our line goes dead. Our power cuts off and we can’t move. In my dark hours, when I don’t even feel like a Christian, the trouble is always that I have taken my eyes off Christ and turned to something else. I’m always thankful when we say the Creed at church, for then I’m brought back to the facts about Christ and my life begins again. No wonder I repeat the Creed with such relish and join so enthusiastically in saying Amen.