The Silent Creed

What a comfort it is to know that our faith exists within a community! According to Scripture, God does not only save individuals—God saves his people. The great covenants of the Bible—the Mosaic Covenant and the New Covenant in Christ—are not made with individuals but with the Israelite people and then with the entire world. Although it is true that God is eternally and devotedly focused on each one of us—to the point of counting every hair on our heads!—it is also true that God creates and loves each of us as members of communities: our families, our Church, our world.

A friend of mine once told me a powerful story about a difficult time in her life. She had just given birth to a baby girl, and the little girl was struggling to survive. Devastated, distraught, exhausted, and totally stressed, my friend went to Mass. When it came time for the Creed, she couldn’t speak. She was empty. She wasn’t sure what or if she believed.

What happened next both surprised and sustained her. As the voices around her professed the Creed, my friend felt lifted up. Their unwavering, believing voices were like strong arms lifting up her heart, her mind, her body to God. Was she struggling to profess, to believe? No matter. The community believed on her behalf, and she let them.

I tried this myself on Sunday. I was silent during the Creed; I listened. All around me voices rose up. I had never thought of my parish as particularly robust, but they were loud and strong! I looked around at all of the faces and bodies. I knew how different we all are, how even when we say “I believe,” we are thinking, meaning, believing slight variations on the themes of our faith. But these were my people, speaking “I believe.” These were God’s people, the ones of the covenant.

This weekend when you go to Mass, I encourage you to stay silent during the Creed, just this once. Listen, be lifted. Be reminded how strong is the faith of our Church. Be reminded that your brothers and sisters believe for you when you feel empty or you cannot speak. They are loud enough. They are strong enough. Let their voices lift you like arms. These are your people.

We are as interconnected as these water droplets on a spider web. Photo by Mary Weems. Used with permission.

We are as interconnected as these water droplets on a spider web. Photo by Mary Weems. Used with permission.