In the name of the Father and of the +Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.
This event in the life of Our Lord shows that He is the God who created all and has power over the universe, even over the laws of physics. This event parallels God’s shepherding and leading and miraculously feeding His people day by day with bread from heaven during Moses’ time. This event shows that He is the same God. The people around Our Lord realized He must be the Prophet that Moses talked about: the One who was to come, who would be greater than Moses, for He would be the Messiah, the Saviour, God’s own Son.
We confess each week in the Creed who our God is and what He has done for us. He created and therefore knows each of us intimately; He has saved us from our sins; He lives in us and works through us to bring His salvation to others.
“Creed” comes from a Latin word, “Credo.” It means, “I believe.” We say it so often, that you can probably rattle it off without thinking about it. Maybe you wonder why we say the same things again and again on Sunday mornings? We do it because the most important things in life, which are the very substance of life, are the boring, mundane, common place things of life. Food being fed to you day after day. Family whom you see so often you may tire of them. God’s Word which can seem all too familiar and uninteresting. In all areas of life, the things that define us most, that make us who we are, are the most commonly repeated words and actions. Your address, your phone number, your name and the names of your spouse, kids or family, how, when and what you eat, who you see regularly and talk to, your rituals and routines. These things get said and done by us day in and day out. For they are part of us.
We do this all the time with the stories we tell ourselves, and share with friends, and family whenever we gather. Those oft repeated, well loved family stories are told so often because they demonstrate our values, speak of our identity, and they help reinforce that in a world which constantly calls our identity into question so often. So we tell them again and again. We don’t get tired of sharing such stories for they express something of ourselves. We know them by heart. And “by heart” means not just to rattle something off but to LOVE it, to keep it in your heart, to cherish it. We love those stories we tell about ourselves and our families because they reinforce who we are.
So the question is: do you merely rattle off the Creed because it is in the service and you have to? Or do you actually love what it says about God and about you? Is it one of those heart and core things for you? Does it define the language you use and the ways you talk about yourself and God?
Confessing or praying the Creed is not merely an intellectual exercise. It is not merely a statement of facts about who God is. It is not simply grist for your mill, something to think about and keep you up at night—though there are many folks throughout history who been kept up till the wee hours of morning trying to figure out this mysterious God who saves. No, this Creed, these words, this story is your bread and butter as a Christian. It is the story of who you are. God’s person. Created by Him. Saved by Him when He came in the flesh and suffered and died for you. Fed by Him as His Holy Spirit shepherds you and feeds you with His Holy Word and His Holy Sacraments.
Is that who you are? Does it define how you think of yourself? Do you belong to God because He first made you and then also redeemed you? Do you look to God to provide all you spiritual needs through His holy Christian Church, its Holy Communion, which imparts forgiveness of your sins, resurrection victory over death, and life everlasting? That’s what the Creed tells us. It tells us our story. So answer for yourself in your own heart: is it your story? Do you love it? Or have you merely tolerated it? And if it is not your story? Why not?
What are you looking to your God for? Is He, in fact, your God who made you, knows you intimately, knows all your needs, provides for you through His Son, Jesus and His Spirit’s work through His Church? Or are you like those 5000+ who were fed by Him? Do you know who He is, but you only want Him in your life as long as you can get what you want from Him? Are you willing to enthrone Him and enshrine Him in your life as long as you get to call the shots? As soon as He steps out of you’re your notions of what He should be, what He should do, what He should say would you chuck Him? The truth is: we are all like that. Repent.
It is what those thousands did. The next day those thousands who were fed by Him sought Him out again. This time He said things that challenged them too much. “You want food for your stomach, but I am food for your soul. I am the bread of life, the bread which comes down from heaven. Me, personally, physically am your food. My body is real food. My blood is real drink. Unless you eat my body and drink my blood you have no life in you.” Those crowds, those thousands, even some of Jesus’ close followers turned back and no longer believed in Him.
He turned to His Twelve disciples and asked them, “Do you also want to leave Me like the crowds?” Simon Peter, speaking for the Twelve, said, “Lord to whom shall we go? You have the Words of eternal life.”
His Word gives life. It defines and recreates you. His story is now your story. He is in you. You are in Him. Even more than your family and its stories defines you; even more than your kids impact you and effect your identity, He defines you, for He is literally in you. We learn His story by heart and internalize Him. We eat and drink His flesh and blood shed on the cross into us and receive from Him His life, and His salvation, and His forgiveness.
Credo. I believe. It is not just facts or concepts to ponder. It is food that feeds your soul. Words that define who you are. That you are loved by God, by each person of the Trinity. You, [insert-your-name-here], are loved by Jesus who suffered the pangs of death to save. You, [insert-your-name-here], are loved by the Holy Spirit who inhabited you when you were baptized. You, [insert-your-name-here], are loved by the Father who knit you together in your mother’s womb, and loved her by giving you to her. You, [insert-your-name-here], are loved by the Father who provides for you and sustains you from day to day. [insert-your-name-here] are loved by Jesus who intercedes for you before His Father in heaven. [insert-your-name-here] are loved by the Holy Spirit who keeps calling you to faith even when you doubt if its all true.
Credo. It is your bread and butter. It is who you are.
In +Jesus’ name, Amen.
—Pastor David Haberstock
Epiphany Lutheran Church
Thunder Bay, ON