Permit me on this day to digress from intellectual discussion about Education and Technology and let me indulge in my silent passion – being a Catholic at Easter Time.
THIS APOSTLE’S CREED
I believe in God – I don’t have physical proof and can’t explain why, that’s faith. I also believe in Science but can’t find anyone that can fully explain where that big ball of gas came from that exploded as the Big Bang that started everything. I believe that if you look closely at the Creation Story and many other cultures’ Creation stories, a bunch of superstitious fantasy creators do a pretty good impersonation of Evolution Scientists in describing the order of how things were created. I believe I can ignore the absurdity of the 6 day time frame and no mention of dinosaurs ( the Israelites were not archaeologists!) and still believe in a God created world.
I believe in Love – I call it God. You can call it love. It makes no difference.
I believe Love is about sacrificing your wants for the wants of others. I call that Jesus Christ.
Yes, I believe in Jesus Christ. I believe history tells us he lived and was crucified. The Bible tells us he was resurrected. We can argue over the Bible as a history book. I don’t believe everything in it. But then you can say that about a lot of history books.
I believe in the message of Jesus Christ. That’s all that matters to me. I believe his message has been confused with the creation of an institution that tries hard to follow his ways but can fail miserably at times. I believe that paedophilic priests are abhorrent, the Crusades and the Spanish Inquisition are blights on our world’s history and quibbling over who gets married to whom is a waste of the real purpose of being Christian. But that God that I mentioned earlier didn’t create perfect people. We fail. We sin. We make mistakes. Whatever you want to call it. Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Left Wing comedians and Right Wing commentators, Atheists and Agnostics, scientists- we all get it wrong sometimes.
Despite all these problems that doubters love to trot out, I believe in the message of a young man from Nazareth. He hung out with the outcast and damaged goods of his community and did what was best for them. But he also challenged them to be better people. He challenged authority by pointing out their hypocrisies. He would be appalled by political correctness today.
I believe He accepted the wisdom of the 10 Commandments but challenged us to go further. Thou Shalt Not was replaced with Thou Shalt. Staying out of trouble and being perfect Pharisee style was replaced with positive action to improve the lives of others. Love your neighbour as yourself. Love one another as I have loved you. Son of God or not, you gotta love the sentiment. Irrational believer or Rational Atheist, you can’t knock loving people can you? Yeah, its hard. Loving Christian Crusaders or Irish Catholic Bombers from the IRA or Muslim Extremists is not easy. But if we give up on love, we give up on life.
I believe Jesus’ message is Love the Person, not the Action. When he healed people, he forgave the person but challenged them not to sin again. We lose that message sometimes when we get the goody twoshoes version of Jesus. He challenged. He criticised. He got angry. But he never stopped loving. We could with a bit of that today. From all sides of the arguments.
I believe in Church, but have issues with THE Church. Church is community and I love my community. I have to believe in a community that includes a wonderful group of teenagers and young adults that aren’t roaming the streets looking for trouble on a Public Holiday but instead are inspiring emotional and spiritual responses from the older community in their portrayal of the Stations of the Cross. A group of kids who instead of getting drunk and abusive on weekends are enjoying themselves with a bit of God Talk mixed into the games. They’re not lame, boring kids. They’re fantastic.
I believe in a community that is full of people who serve others. We enter the homes of strangers and offer them support because they need it. We get back more than we give and it costs us nothing. I believe in a community that can inspire an atheist Chinese couple to spend a year learning with us about this Jesus guy an then be baptised at the Easter Vigil mass last night, accompanied by their friends from China who were swept away by the mood. I also believe our community inspired another adult last night to come back to Church after being away for so long.I believe in the joy our community showed last night and continues to show each week, despite the media telling us Christianity is dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, not the often mocked image of tongues of fire and doves floating above people’s heads. I beleive in the Spirit that gave us Mother Teresa, Gandhi ( yeah, he was no Christian but the spirit was there), Martin Luther King, Jim Stynes ( look him up, non Australians), Max Kolbe, the guy that stood in front of the tanks in Tienamen Square, the freedom fighters in Africa, Bob Geldof and all the other lovers in the world. The Spirit isn’t a Catholic, Jesus wasn’t a Catholic. The Spirit is love. Jesus is Love. God is Love.
If you can’t believe in the Catholic Church or the Anglicans or the Evangelicals, at least believe in Love. As I head off this morning for my sixth Catholic celebration in seven days, guitar in hand and voice ready for another burst of cheesy hymns, I ask you to at least do that. Believe in Love. If you can do that, then today, Easter Sunday, for a brief moment, maybe you can believe in Jesus. It can’t hurt.