I don't know much about my genealogy. I wish our kin had one of those large cracked leather Bibles with a family tree printed in the front, the kind that goes back seven or eight generations. I know that on my mother's side, if you trace far enough, we'd find our way to a Cherokee Indian Chief. Our family name was Lightfoot. When I'm feeling low about my station in life, I remember I'm Cherokee royalty. On my dad's side, there's Scottish blood. I don't know how my ancestors arrived here – or why. But perhaps this explains my enduring love of the Scottish brogue, Sean Connery and kilts.
There's a fellow in the local outdoor gear shop who wears a red, black and green kilt to work. He has long, black hair tied in a man-tail. He's got the leather boots and the lean, muscular frame to go with it. I keep expecting to find him with an axe slung over his shoulder. It's quite an experience to see a fellow in a skirt and think he's the manliest thing you've seen in a long while. I've never owned a kilt or an axe, but I'm happy to say that those who do are my people.
The stories that have led us to this life, this land, are not merely biographical detail. They are the threads that have weaved us into being. We belong to a history. We didn't create it. We didn't choose it. Yet here we are, chosen and crafted by a story that was before us, a story that has invited us in.
This is what the church's creeds offer. The Apostles' Creed is a story. If we read the Creed first as a list of theological facts, we may get the gist, but we'll entirely miss the juice. The Creed is the story of God and God's action for us, toward us. The Creed narrates the drama, tugs us through love and ruin, through hell and back. And with each movement, the story reminds us of our history and reminds us of who we are, lest we forget. We are the ones loved by God, loved so much that God refuses to forget us. This story has chosen us. This story has made us. If it tells us anything at all, the Creed tells us we are part of a history and a people: God's history, God's people. We are not (and never have been) alone.
And the Creed is also a prayer; it ends with amen. Good stories are always a sort of prayer. They carry us through all the beauty and the rubble to the place of truth. When a good story has worked it's way in us, we have little to say except Amen. May it be so.