Who am I?

When Jesus asked His followers (Mark 8:27), “Who do people say I am?” He received various answers as different people saw Him differently. I think Jesus would get a similar answer if He asked the same question today. However, to ensure we get that answer correct, the Church, in its wisdom, has formulated the answer for us and called it ‘a Creed’. A Creed, by definition, is a set of fundamental beliefs. It is often seen in a religious sense as a form of persuasion or conviction.
Since a youngster I have memories of attending church and in the early days reading The Nicene Creed word for word from my prayer book. These days, those attending get the benefit of overhead screens where you can literally follow the bouncing ball and trot out the words along with everyone else.
The Apostles Creed is used today and particularly to interrogate the sponsor who responds on behalf of the child at a baby’s Baptism. It summarizes the basic tenets of faith and serves as a confession of belief (according to Dr Google). Different Christian denominations use this Creed but have made some minor changes to the wording to reflect more the specific beliefs of their religion. The current format was first used in the 5th Century although versions of it can be traced back to the 2nd Century.
Wikipedia gives a background to why the Nicene Creed was formulated in 325AD. This Creed is a more precise and detailed statement that addresses more succinctly the identity of Jesus the Christ.
When Jesus asked His followers the question who people thought He was, I think he knew the mixed response he would get. It was as if this answer was secondary to the question that followed. “But who do YOU say I am.”
If Jesus were to ask us, individually, the same questions today, we could trot out the Creed because we have learnt it off by heart and this is what the Church tells us we must believe. But how would we respond to the second question, “Who do YOU think I am.”
As we have all led different lives, we have had many differing experiences that have helped formulate, in our own minds, where our faith has brought us and what form our individual relationship with our maker exists at this point in our lives.
Whatever our individual situation might be, to answer that second question, I believe it would be helpful for our own journey if each of us were to write a personal Creed (for your own eyes only). We could outline just who our God is to us and what we believe is supporting our faith relationship. It can be as simple as a few dot points. Perhaps, for the record, we could also document those areas of our faith we might be questioning in our own minds.
The big advantage of a document of this kind is that it needs to be reviewed. (My suggestion is once a year) and where our thinking or understanding has changed, we can make the necessary variations to our ‘revised’ personal Creed. If we were to keep each year’s Creed, we will probably be surprised in the years to come as we read back over our journey, how our understanding has changed as a person and how our relationship with our God has matured.
I’m Peter Mack and that’s faith.

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