There’s been a lot of buzz around the recent vote about the motto “In God We Trust” that occurred in the House of Representatives earlier this week. Some thought the House should be focused upon the creation of jobs and the state of the US economy. Others thought that it was right for them to take time to address this motto. I think what we realize in this current event is how powerful mottoes are. Mottoes express our guiding principles, our values, our identities. Mottoes are the words and phrases we recite and cling to during times of trial and tribulations. They affirm something within us.
Christianity has its own mottoes. We know these as affirmations of faith. You might recognize them as formalized statements known as the Nicene Creed, the Apostles’ Creed, and others that vary by denomination. They boldly proclaim our faith and in what we believe. In religion, we are what we believe. We are the people who believe that Jesus is Christ. Their function is not to make disciples, or spread the Gospel; they convey our beliefs and serve to remind us of who we are and in what we find strength.
(Image courtesy of kereikrekate.blogspot.com)
My church reads one of four affirmations of faith every week in worship. While there are those who mumble through them, I say them clearly and concisely. They are spoken boldly in my voice as I proclaim I do believe the words. I do believe in the Trinity. I do believe that Jesus Christ is Lord. I do believe in one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. I do believe in the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. These are no abstract ideals, but concrete truths. They are my doctrine which I share with countless generations of Christianity across denominational lines. These affirmations remind me who I am and what I am to do because they state what I believe. I believe in Jesus Christ, therefore I am a Christian, therefore I go forth to make disciples in his name.
There is a time, a place, and a need to stop our busy lives and remember, recall why we are doing what we do. We do this by reorienting ourselves back to who we are. We are a people who trust in God, therefore let’s do it. Let us trust that God is with us, guiding us, leading us forward into a future that can be better than the past, better than the now. I didn’t need the House of Representative to remind me that I trust in God, but perhaps they needed to be reminded that they should. I would never begrudge someone the opportunity to take some time and prayerfully consider who they are and what they should do. If they need to affirm their faith, reclaim their motto to do it, then fine. But now I expect you to embody that trust and reveal it in your actions.