The Maasai Creed (Creed of the Month)

The cover to a volume of Pelikan's edited collection of creeds, in which this month's creed is included.
The cover to a volume of Pelikan’s edited collection of creeds, in which this month’s creed is included.

A new feature here at Uniting Grace will be a “Creed of the Month,” highlighting a different iteration of what St. Vincent of Lerins called, “that which has been believed everywhere, always and by all.”  We’ll do this the third Monday of each month, since, you know – Trinity and all that.  First up is a creed I have recently come across from the Maasai people of Kenya.  Yale historian of doctrine Yaroslav Pelikan referred to it as an excellent example of how the faith “once and for all delivered” (Jude 1) is adapted to local culture and custom.  One of his students, a former missionary, told him of this creed, and he included it in his magisterial collection of creeds published near the end of his career:

“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.”

I especially love the line about “the hyenas did not touch him,” and the way that “share the bread together in love” unites both the Eucharist and justice.  I find this to be a wonderful creed, and a true gift to the church universal.

What do you think?

P.S. For more on creeds by Jaroslav Pelikan, here is a great interview he did with Krista Tippett.

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