Creeds that Span Continents

Sunday, June 1, 2014 - 6:44am
Creeds that Span Continents

Listen to this beautiful recitation of the Maasai creed from the late great scholar Jaroslav Pelikan. It's a treasure.

Post by:
Mariah Helgeson (@mariahism),  associate producer for On Being
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In his magnum opus, Credo, Jaroslav Pelikan writes that unlike earlier Greek and Latin creeds, which jump from birth to death without a middle, "The Masai Creed" includes the narrative of Jesus' ministry of teaching and healing. It's a treasure, and well worth repeating:

"We believe in the one High God, who out of love created the beautiful world and everything good in it. He created man and wanted man to be happy in the world. God loves the world and every nation and tribe on the earth. We have known this High God in the darkness, and now we know him in the light. God promised in the book of his word, the Bible, that he would save the world and all nations and tribes.

We believe that God made good his promise by sending his son, Jesus Christ, a man in the flesh, a Jew by tribe, born poor in a little village, who left his home and was always on safari doing good, curing people by the power of God, teaching about God and man, showing that the meaning of religion is love. He was rejected by his people, tortured and nailed hands and feet to a cross, and died. He was buried in the grave, but the hyenas did not touch him, and on the third day, he rose from that grave. He ascended to the skies. He is the Lord.

We believe that all our sins are forgiven through him. All who have faith in him must be sorry for their sins, be baptized in the Holy Spirit of God, live the rules of love, and share the bread together in love, to announce the good news to others until Jesus comes again. We are waiting for him. He is alive. He lives. This we believe. Amen."

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Mariah Helgeson is an associate producer at On Being. She earned a degree in International Affairs with concentrations in the Middle East and Conflict Resolution from George Washington University. She grew up in Minnesota and was a program associate at the Sustained Dialogue Campus Network. When she’s not submerged in a good book she might be found laughing with her teenage sisters or playing chamber music.

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Yesterday, as I sat with a dear young friend and her talk passionately about the children she recently served while on a Mission trip in Perú, their joy at her looking Chinese but living in the Estados Unidos they were so curious about, I was humbled to hear her describe what she felt when she had to leave, the sadness in their eyes as they waved good-bye, and the goose bumps she felt in mass, a real Eucharist of community, despite lack, these children renewed her faith, and her story renewed mine, and I find in this creed, today, early on a Sunday morning, a Eucharist of sorts, the summary of what Jesus came to teach and demonstrate and Embody, a true turning of the water into the blood that runs through our veins and its life giving beat sings a song of Love; through us, if we remember to be his Instruments.

"Be authentic with effort you have received..." I'm struck by this creed that Pelikan shares because it does contain all the tenants of Christian belief, but at the same time it presents them in a way that causes me to look at the belief from someone else's point of view, a point of view not my own, which is why it is striking for me. I do feel that this creed is authentic (because obvisouly I have the credentials to say so...)and I enjoyed listening to Pelikan presenting it.

Life is eternal.

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