“I believe in God, the Father almighty…” (Beginning of the Apostles’ Creed)
I recently learned, from reading an interview with John McCain, the just-deceased American senator from Arizona, that these seven words, at the beginning of “The Apostles’ Creed,” were written by him on a wall of his tiny cell in Vietnam, where he was imprisoned and tortured for over five years. These words, this profession of faith in “God, the Father almighty,” were an important part of what kept him going, in a life-threatening situation.
How many of us really “pray” the Creed, – either this one, or the Nicene-Constantinopolitan one, more commonly used in our Orthodox Church, – and recognize its life-sustaining power, in the face of fear? Few of us have the experience of a John McCain, but many of us know the “prison” that is fear, which “captures” us so easily when we abandon faith. And I’m reminded today, as I’m inspired by the life-story of John McCain, that we have very powerful, life-affirming tools in our Tradition, like the Creed, which can lift us out of fear and re-connect us with Life. “I believe in one God, the Father almighty, Maker of all things, visible and invisible,” I say today, from the bottom of my heart, as so many have said before me, and also say with me today, amidst their fears and worries. I need not be alone in any prison today, because I can re-connect with God and others, in what is greater and beyond the walls of any prison-cell, which is faith in Him. “I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord!” (Ps 117/118: 17)