Joining in with John
After 727, 958 words (at least in English translations) the Bible comes to an end. What is the final flourish? How is the curtain brought down after battles and miracles and calamities and healings and Gospels and everything in between? With one diminutive Aramaic word:
To its Old Testament users it meant ‘I do solemnly swear’, much as we might say in a legal ceremony today. In the New Testament it could also be used rather less formally to say ‘I really mean this’. Either way, it provides the finale to John’s Book of Revelation, and thereby to the Bible itself.
Reading the passage over 20 years ago, it struck me that no-one could echo John’s little word of endorsement without putting their weight behind all that he stood for. To say ‘amen’ along with him is to set our soul’s compass on the return of Christ and to wait eagerly and purposefully for his return. At the time I wrote a responsive version of the Apostles’ Creed, and it first saw the light of day yesterday. I reproduce it here in case others would like to use it:
I believe in God the father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
I will honour him and cherish his creation.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only son, our Lord.
I will serve him as master and Lord.
I believe he was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, and was buried. He descended to the dead.
I too will follow the path of obedience, wherever it may lead.
I believe that on the third day he rose again, ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the father.
I will exalt and honour him, even as God has done.
I believe in the Holy Spirit.
I will welcome his ministry in my life.
I believe in the holy catholic church, the communion of the saints.
I will seek to serve it and do all in my power to preserve it through tolerance, through gentleness and through generosity of Spirit.
I believe in the forgiveness of sins.
I will live daily in the light of his grace, forgiven again and again.
I believe in the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting
I will trust God for all that is to come.