Each week in celebration of the Holy Eucharist, we proclaim the mystery (indeed, mystery!) of our faith:
Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.
That’s it, just those three little (huge) bits.
And within the Nicene Creed, we acknowledge one God in three expressions.
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father.
Through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven:
by the power of the Holy Spirit
he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary,
and was made man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.
It includes a smidge of the prelude to “Christ has died”, namely that Christ was begotten, made incarnate, and born– that whole holiday we just celebrated and all.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son.
Who with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified
and has spoken through the Prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come.
I know you’re not supposed to have a favorite expression of the Holy Trinity, but that last one is my favorite. The Holy Spirit! What fun!
These expressions of faith capture the heart of what it is we celebrate, but the beauty of the liturgical calendar and the lectionary lies in illuminating the bits just outside of the boundaries– and in doing so, reminding me of why I’m here in the first place.
Today: The Transfiguration. That time when Jesus takes
Larry, Moe, and Curly Peter, James, and John to a mountaintop, and then starts GLOWING LIKE A CRAZY PERSON. Two long-deceased prophets appear, Peter wants to know if he should throw together some tents for them, God yells love for God’s son at the apostles and is all, LISTEN TO HIM YOU GUYS, and then after all of this, Jesus is like, “Keep that on the DL, okay? The blinding white light and prophets and divine hollering and stuff. Just until I rise from the dead, I mean.” NBD, basic God stuff.
I like the rhythm of going to Mass each week. I believe that in joining with this community, I am doing the right thing for my spiritual formation and the formation of my family. I believe that at its best, my faith carries a net positive into the world. I can pretty calmly explain a good portion of why I believe what I do, how it fits neatly into the life I want to live, a life I hope is lived in service of others.
And also– I sure do love it when it gets reallllllllll weird. I mean, I’m not going to the Ethical Society on Sunday’s, y’all. I never claimed to be a humanist. I didn’t write down my beliefs on a piece of graph paper and plug them into a logic puzzle, or pick my faith based on cost-benefit analysis. It’s FAITH. It’s WEIRD. It’s doesn’t make sense, and it’s messy, and sometimes it’s a friend who glows brighter than all the LEDs in the whole wide world, whose dad yells at you and also happens to be God, and then tells you to just hush about it till he resurrects himself from the dead.
Plus, just a little later in the chapter Jesus asks my very favorite question: “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again?”
Because really, what good *is* salt if it’s not salty?
I really do adore Sufjan Stevens’ take on the Transfiguration: