True God from True God

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father.

As I recited these words from the Nicene Creed at tonight’s Holy Thursday service I looked up from the prayerbook and gazed at the crucifix hanging behind the altar. I took a close look at the body of Jesus represented there – something that’s probably a good thing to do at this point in Holy Week – and realized something important about the words of the creed I was reciting.

I have always favored the Apostle’s Creed over the Nicene Creed because the former is more concrete. Words like “light from light” – “true God from true God” – “of one being with the Father” – these always seemed a little too abstract and speculative for my taste.

Tonight, as I spoke these words, my eyes were fixed on the  image of Jesus crucified. Suddenly, the words took on new meaning. They weren’t merely philosophical abstractions about the qualities of divinity or speculations about the pre-existent logos. Looking at Christ crucified, I was looking at light from light, true God  from true God. This fellow hanging on the cross is of the same stuff as the Father. This Holy Week shows us what God looks like.