I’m building this over several years,. Please bear with me as it becomes more complete.
We worship One God, Who Loves. God made everything we know and everything we don’t. In the form of the man Jesus, God came to earth and lived with us. We were blind with sin and ignorance, and we rejected Jesus. We killed him on a cross, but our God Who Loves transformed our sin and ignorance into eternal victory over sin, ignorance, and death. Our God Who Loves is God Who Saves. Hallelujah!
God calls us to care for the earth and all living things. God calls us to invite others to join and grow in the fellowship. We are not alone, because God sends the Holy Spirit to give us guidance, courage, and power. We are pilgrims on a journey. We strive each day to surrender a little more of our sin and ignorance to the guidance, courage, and power of the Holy Spirit, so that we may become each day a little more the people God yearns for us to be. Praise be to God Who Loves! Amen.
Click here for the Alabama Creed without Notes.
The plural is intentional. We worship in community, we act in community. Our faith is one of community as well. It might be possible for a person to be alone and in a loving relationship with God, but it’s so much more fun with others.
In a mature Christian community, our living, our dying, our birthing, our working, and even our playing are expressions of Worship of God, because life, death, birth, work, and play flow from God’s love. Worship is a party, and God is always ready. The keg of God’s love is always chilled and loaded in the pickup, ready for us to join in. And the party is always more friend when we bring a friend.
A dear friend asked me one day whether the Alabama Creed rejects the Trinity when it speaks of “One God.” I hadn’t really thought about it until he asked; now I have. The answer is no. The Alabama Creed embraces the Trinity, but it avoids making the judgments about the relative power of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost that have confused Christians and emboldened their challengers for centuries. It simply honors and articulates the roles God plays as Creator, Savior, and Comforter. This allows Christians to speak with one voice and share one understanding of God without getting bogged down into details about the Trinity.
God, being after all God, could choose not to love. God, being after all God, wouldn’t. Loving is What God Does. If your God doesn’t, come worship ours.
The past tense doesn’t imply that God has stopped creating. We hope and trust that God will never stop creating. It simply acknowledges that God has created. If we wanted to be strictly accurate, we could say “God has made and is making,” but this is a creed, not a legal contract.
everything we know
Our faith is secure enough, and our God big enough, to welcome enthusiastic exploration of the natural world. God gave us curiosity to explore physics, anthropology, biology, and ecology. Do we make God smaller when we study and teach about the Big Bang? Evolution? Genetics? Of course not! If your God is too small to stand up to first rate science, come worship ours.
and everything we don’t.
The more we learn about the world, the smaller our role appears to be in it. We worship a God whose creation is as eternal, as limitless, and as unfathomable as God is.
In the form of the man Jesus,
See the discussion of the Trinity above. Jesus was “God with skin on.” We Christians have said and heard for so long that Jesus was “fully human and fully divine” that we sometimes forget just how outrageously cosmic this is. God, while remaining fully good and perfectly powerful, somehow became human and experienced hunger, thirst, fatigue, and anger. What a feat! if you want to pull this off, you better be God.
God came to earth
There’s no inference here that God was someplace else before. God has always been among us. The use of the verb “came” honors God’s reaching out to us. God’s always willing to make the first move. Too big, too powerful, and too loving to feel proud, God shamelessly chases us, woos us, beckons to us, forever hoping we’ll say yes.
and lived with us
Jesus truly was God with us, walking with us, breathing with us, eating and drinking with us, even laughing with us. We Christians devote ourselves to praise of Jesus for his suffering on the cross, as well we should. Perhaps the more painful sacrifice for God, however, was in simply becoming human. We cannot understand, and probably shouldn’t try, how demeaning, how tawdry, how utterly gross it must have been for Jesus to become mortal. The only analogy we can offer – and it’s not at all accurate – is if a human consented to become a maggot and to live with other maggots for awhile. Dying to save those other maggots while they jeered and rejected us would be painful and demeaning, but living with them before that wouldn’t be much of a picnic either.
We were blind with sin and ignorance,
A friend asked why it was necessary to add ignorance; isn’t sin enough? Yes. However, the use of the word “ignorance” reminds us of the willfulness inherent in our refusal to inquire into truth, and to accept it once we confront it. “There are none so blind,” etc.
and we rejected Jesus.
Did you reject Jesus? Not in an historical sense, but certainly in a personal sense, I reject Jesus every day. In the only sense that matters to God, each time I eat too much, or pass by a person in need, or envy my neighbor’s car, I am leering and jeering at Jesus. My life is a parade of missed opportunities to make God smile. Yours probably is too.
We killed him on a cross,
We killed the man Jesus, and he died in lonely agony. We can only be grateful that we will never know the thoughts that went through the mind of Jesus as he died.
It’s the peculiar joy of English Biblical translation that God has packed so much saving power into such an ugly little word. Left to our own devices, we would simply have killed this rabble-rouser and left it at that. “But” God had other plans for us.
This is not about ownership, of course. We Christians are monotheists who worship one God. Jews are monotheists who worship one God. Muslims are monotheists who worship one God. Do we really think we’re praying to different Gods?