Lesson 16: All the Eggs in One Basket

Let’s think about mum’s shopping-bag, windows, and an accordion.

You remember that your second baptism vow was “to believe all the articles of the Christian Faith,” and that an “article” is a “small piece” (like a link in a chain). “The Christian Faith” means “that which the Church [the society of Christian people (39)] has believed in all places and at all times, and still believes.”

The power to believe is called Faith. Like all good things, it is a gift of God. At your baptism you were given the power to believe. The more you pray for it, the more faith God will give you. Remember that you did not promise, and are not asked, to understand all the articles of Christianity. We shall understand everything one day, when we are quite grown-up in heaven. Until then God says to us what he once said to St. Thomas the Apostle (St. John 20, 29).

Mum goes shopping in Hackney Road, of course with the family’s ration books. She buys meat at Scott’s; cheese and marg at Lawrence’s; bread at Wazem’s; milk at Davies’; and comes home with all she has bought in her shopping-bag. Like her the Church has collected together all the articles of her belief; and, to help you and me, put them together in the Creed (Latin “credo,” “I believe”).

There are three creeds of different sizes.

(1) The Athanasian Creed, the biggest, which you needn’t worry about yet; though, if you want to read it, it is in your Book of Common Prayer after Evening Prayer.

(2) The Nicene Creed, the one said at Mass; made at a great meeting, or council, of the Church at a place called Nicaea over sixteen hundred years ago.

(3) The Apostles’ Creed, the smallest, in your Catechism and in Morning and Evening Prayer; the Apostles did not write it, but it is what they taught in the first days of the Church; and I am afraid you must worry your poor old head a good deal about it, because you can’t be confirmed until you know it.

But the three creeds teach the same one Faith. Like an accordion, pulled out or squeezed in, sometimes bigger than at other times, but all the time playing the same tune. Or like the picture: three windows, one view.