In speaking about Christian faith in an increasingly materialist, naturalistic world, G.K. Chesterton wrote about the “thrilling romance” of belief in Christ: of understanding one’s self, one’s place in this world, one’s being and purpose for existence. The exuberance of living real life and being truly and fully human. In his great apologetic work Orthodoxy, he wrote, “People have fallen into a foolish habit of speaking of orthodoxy as something heavy, humdrum, and safe.” (Pause and consider: Is my faith humdrum? Has obedience become heavy? Is my God safe?) Yet, he writes, “There never was anything so perilous and exciting as orthodoxy.” His personal journey of faith was, for Chesterton, “one whirling adventure.” Indeed!
Similarly, Dorothy Leigh Sayers (a somewhat eccentric and exceedingly brilliant and creative theologian, literary critic, and writer of the early twentieth century) described how people of her culture – familiar with Christianity in a general sense – “simply cannot believe that anything so interesting, so exciting, and so dramatic can be the orthodox Creed of the Church.” For Sayers and for Chesterton, the gospel message and all that gospel entails was the most thrilling, moving, and centering reality for humanity.
What a fantastic reminder for me – for us – that this life is meant to be lived abundantly (John 10:10), with joie de vivre and enthusiasm for being! What a convicting reminder that when I err in living a life of ho-hum normality and blah-blah faith and heard-it-all-before participation, I’m hurting myself. I’m eliminating the abundance God has for me – I’m sidetracking the enthusiasm, the wonder, the creative spirit of discovery and delight that God intends.
This is not about what we do – it is about how we think and exist, what we perceive and expect. It is the posture of our soul when we come to God and his truth.
Am I coming with delight, joy, and exuberant gratitude? With wonder, passion, and determination? With the best of who God created me to be as a human being?
Or am I coming with dreariness, weighed down by stress and exhaustion, blinded by worry or fear or pessimism?
Consider this orthodoxy, this crazily wonderful and adventurous journey, by pondering these truths:
We believe in one God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, Very God of Very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father by whom all things were made; who for us men, and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary, and was made man, and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate. He suffered and was buried, and the third day he rose again according to the Scriptures, and ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father. And he shall come again with glory to judge both the quick and the dead, whose kingdom shall have no end.
And we believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life, who proceedeth from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified, who spoke by the prophets. And we believe one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins. And we look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.
(The Nicene Creed)