by Lawson Wulsin
Three years ago, after being served communion once again by my brother, the priest of St Andrew’s Episcopal Church, and reciting the Nicene Creed with my usual questions about what I really believe, I came home and wrote a creed I could believe. Last month, while talking to our atheist son about his marriage in a Catholic church, I reread my “Credo,” and shared it with him. Though it does not make me a Christian, this “Credo” has clarified what I do believe. And it has helped me understand why it’s still okay to recite the words of the Nicene Creed with those who, like my brother, believe it more literally than I do. For any believers with doubts, I recommend the exercise.
That before the Word there was no God,
And the beginning of God was the Word,
And with the Word came the new reach,
The reach first of one imagination to another,
Then of two imaginations to the same beyond.
That once one Australopithican,
Bewildered on an empty day
High on the rim of the Rift Valley,
Found another Australopithican,
Both ripe for a word,
And the insemination began with the insistent Who?
And later the When?
And the Why?
Again and again and again,
Asking against the thunderstrikes
And the ways of nature’s game
And the ecstasies of wonderchildren
And all that dashed and dazzled them.
I believe that Man made God in his image,
And, as Man makes the child,
Made God the Maker of Man.
This was the procreation of God to save Man.
For we are so wired that alone we die
But together we scratch out our fighting chances.
And once we knew this about ourselves,
That mythmaking could save the tribe,
That sharing a God could bind us through blight and catastrophe,
That loyalty to a common God allowed us
To endure the fickleness of our own flesh and kin—
Once we knew this about ourselves,
The race was on.
Among the toolmakers it was the mythmakers who survived.
So now no tribe survives without its gods,
And now wherever two gather to beat bad odds,
God may show up too,
Through Moses, Jesus, Mohammed, who knows—
Often appearing to the bewildered to save the day,
Which is good for faith, hope, and love,
And may be why we hold our gods so dear,
So worth dying for.
Through the Word we find God,
And through God we find Love,
And through Love we find each other—
Which only proves the truth of our folly when we say
That God finished making our world on Saturday.
Lawson Wulsin lives in Cincinnati, Ohio