I’ve quoted from Timothy Radcliffe’s book before–on this blog and on the Ekklesia Project website. Why Go to Church? The Drama of the Eucharist was the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Lent Book for 2009, but it deserves to be read and savored and read again throughout the church year, throughout the years. The passage below comes from a chapter on the Nicene Creed. By the way, doesn’t Radcliffe–a Catholic priest and Dominican friar–look like Frank McCourt? (who died this past year, sadly).
So what then does it mean to believe in the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit? For Thomas Aquinas, belief is not, most fundamentally, believing things about God. God is a mystery beyond the grasp of our understanding. In this life we are joined to God as to the Unknown. Belief is the beginning of friendship with God . . . With the Creed, we can take a further step in our understanding of what it means to accept this friendship.
Often the first sign of friendship is that we are delighted to discover that we see the world in a similar way. We find ourselves laughing at the same jokes, enjoying the same novels, sharing other friends. We treasure the same things. Friends do not primarily look at each other, like lovers. They look at the world together. They inhabit the same world. Of course friendship does imply knowing facts about someone, for example that the other person exists and lives in Oxford. But the assent to those facts is not enough to constitute a friendship. Similarly we are God’s friends not by thinking things about him, but by seeing things with God, through God’s eyes as it were. Nicholas Lash wrote: “If faith is the way in which, in this life, we know God, then learning to ‘believe in’ God is learning to see all things in the way God sees them: as worth infinitie expenditure of understanding, interest, and care.”
Why Go to Church? The Drama of the Eucharist, pp. 71-72