Monday, 6 November 2006

An African creed

On his excellent blog Missions and Theology, our friend Joey discusses theological education in Africa. This made me think of one of my favourite modern creeds – the Masai version of the Nicene Creed [correction: it’s a version of the Apostle’s Creed], which was developed in 1978 by missionaries in Africa. This cultural “translation” of the Nicene Creed strikes me as a perfect illustration of the whole theological task.

I can’t imagine anything more profound or more beautiful – or more true – than the statement that Jesus was “born poor in a little village,” or that he was “always on safari doing good,” or that “the hyenas did not touch him.” Here’s the full text, quoted from Beliefnet:

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 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 the 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 the meaning of religion is love. He was rejected by his people, tortured and nailed hands and feet to a cross, and died. He lay buried in the grave, but the hyenas did not touch him, and on the third day, he rose from the 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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