Like 99% of all Baby Boomers, their younger siblings, and practically any American kid on the planet born after 1950, I grew up on Disney in all it’s colorful, adventure-ful, fanciful glory. And I imbibed the Disney ethos: “Believe!”. Cinderella taught us that “no matter how your heart is grieving/ if you keep on believing/ the dream that you wish will come true” , while the venerable Jiminy Cricket chirped that “when you wish upon a star… anything your heart desires will come to you.” The message was clear: Believe it, and you will receive it. Walt Disney himself was a big fan of believing, but he was careful to add that believing was a precursor to doing. He said, beautifully: “All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” That “if” separates believing from reality.
Which is an important difference between “believing” that the stuff of our imaginations can be realized, and having faith in the things of God. The Apostle Paul said that “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see”. The New King James version of the Bible puts an even finer point on Paul’s thought: “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). For Paul, faith was a rock-solid product of observing and experiencing God at work.
Of course, the most observable, experiential, and trustworthy thing that Paul and other Christians witnessed was Jesus: his miraculous birth, atoning death and vindicating resurrection. Their ‘hope was built on nothing less’, and they passed this living hope down through the ages in the form of creeds, especially the Apostles Creed. This short statement of observable fact and ancient doctrine is a succinct summary of the saving message of the whole Bible and, in a time when even Christians struggle to agree on what we ought to believe, the Creed can be like an anchor in a theological storm. As it was in the early church, the principals of the Creed can be a trustworthy bridge between Christian dreams and time-tested reality, between simply believing and actually pursuing the way of life that belief demands.
This August and September, as we approach our time of receiving new members, we will be looking at the building blocks of orthodox Christian faith and the Creed that has bound followers of Jesus together as a “Band of Believers” going back to the earliest days of the church. Hopefully, armed with these timeless principals grounded in history, we will gain more confidence to boldly pursue God and His kingdom daily.
Walt Disney, dreamer, believer and builder once said: “First think. Second, dream. Third, believe. And finally, dare.” May we, as a modern-day “Band of Believers” dare to do all these things in the service of our Christ for the sake of our families, our church and our world.