Lenten Devotional: March 4th
I believe in Jesus Christ
Today in our exploration of the Apostles' Creed, we come to what is at the very center of the Christian faith, and that is Jesus. Maybe it's stating the obvious, but the Creed is nothing without Jesus at the center.
In terms of structure, the Creed speaks of Jesus in between its affirmations regarding the Father and the Holy Spirit – Jesus is in the center. In terms of substance, the Creed uses nearly twice as many words in describing who Jesus is in regard to our faith, than what it says about the Father and the Holy Spirit combined. Jesus is the center of the Creed and is to be the center of our lives.
Notice that the Creed affirms belief "in" Jesus Christ just as it affirmed belief "in" God, the Father Almighty (see the devotional from March 1). When we believe "in" someone we are putting our trust in that person.
It's hard to trust these days though. We don't trust the government; we don't trust the political candidates; we don't trust the media; we don't trust the business establishment. All with good reason, you might say. The NSA listening in on us, none of our political candidates seem to be above the fray, Wall Street still hasn't learned lessons from 2008, and our cable news stations are more interested in celebrities than substance. How can we trust anybody?
This Sunday we begin a new member class and one of the things I tell each class is that there will come a day that I will say something or do something that will disappoint you. The church will also do something that you won't like. But, if you leave because we let you down, you might miss Jesus. Because just when we are broken, the resurrecting grace of God comes and fills in the cracks left behind from our brokenness. And that is just too beautiful, too grace-filled, to miss.
So you don't have to put your trust in the church, or me, or Kelly, or even yourself. But when you recite the Creed you are trusting in a Savior who is not stymied by our messes, a Savior who shows up most vividly right in the middle of these messes with resurrecting power.
As one preacher puts it, "Put your trust in Jesus who says where two or more people who get things wrong, where two or more people who don't bother to sign up for jobs or give money to church, where two or more people who triangulate and gossip about each other are gathered, I am there. He is here. That's the promise.
He is here with a power that is not our own. He is here with the power of one who has given all for us. He is here with the power of reconciliation for people who don't deserve it. He is here in bread and wine and water and in the stranger sitting next to you. He is here again loving his broken church into being something beautiful."
O God, it is so hard to trust anything or anybody, but I am trying to trust You. Help me to trust Your power to fill the cracks in my brokenness, in our brokenness. Thank you that you are Jesus Christ, the One with no agenda but love. The One who can be trusted. Amen.
Rev. Brent Barry, Pastor, NorthPark Presbyterian Church