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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Guest Post: The Anabaptist Comma

Christ enthroned, 12th century mosaic
I post the following with the kind permission of the Peace Mennonite Fellowship of Claremont, California, a house church congregation:

The Apostles’ Creed says, “I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate . . . . ”

Notice how the creed goes straight from Jesus’ birth to his suffering? In between there’s only a comma, but as David Augsburger pointed out at our recent Mennonite Church BC LEAD session, “It’s only a comma, but Oooooooooooooooooooh what a comma,” as Walter Brueggemann has said.

In light of this, David’s home church, Peace Mennonite Fellowship in Claremont, California, has adapted the Apostles’ Creed to include Jesus’ life and ministry.  Thank you, David, for sharing your liturgy with us.

The Apostles Creed with the Anabaptist Comma*

 Disciples:            I believe in God ,
                                The Father almighty,
                                Creator of heaven and earth.
                                I believe in Jesus Christ,
                                God’s only Son,

                                our Lord, who was
                                Conceived by the Holy Spirit,
                                Born of the Virgin Mary,

One disciple:                        [Welcomed by shepherds,
                                                Greeted by Magi,
                                                Pursued by Herod,
                                                Sheltered  in Egypt,
                                                Taught by Joseph,
                                                Baptized by John,
                                                Tempted by Satan,
                                                Followed by disciples,
                                                Heard by multitudes,
                                                Understood by simple,
                                                Despised by clergy,
                                                Praised by lepers,
                                                Hosted by outcasts,
                                                Seen by the blind,
                                                Touched by the ill,
                                                Obeyed by psychotics,
                                                Rejected by siblings,
                                                Rebuked by Martha,
                                                Embraced by Mary,
                                                Anointed by a prostitute,
                                                Cheered by crowds,
                                                Loved by John,
                                                Hated by the Powers,
                                                Abandoned by all,
                                                Grieved in Gethsemane
                                                Betrayed by disciple,
                                                Denied by Peter,
                                                Arrested by Herod,]

Disciples:            Suffered under Pontius Pilate,
                                Was crucified, died, and was buried;
                                On the third day he rose again;
                                He ascended into heaven,
                                He is seated on the right hand of the Father
                                He will come again to judge the living and 
                                       the dead.
                                I believe in the Holy Spirit,
                                The holy catholic church,
                                The communion of saints,
                                The forgiveness of sins,
                                The resurrection of the body,
                                And the life everlasting.

*The Anabaptist Comma, written by long time mentor and friend David Augsburger, includes the essential recognition that we are saved by Jesus’ life as well as by his death. This creed is a part of the liturgy of Peace Mennonite Fellowship.
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