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 the 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 nations and tribes.Quite a number of aspects of this creed are striking. It begins with a bit of a surprise - not being composed in the context of Trinitarian controversy, the drafters didn't seem to deem it necessary to begin with a statement of the Fatherhood of God. Likewise, the eternal generation of the Son and the Lordship of the Holy Spirit aren't mentioned - not because of any squishy theology I would imagine, but rather because the focus isn't on disputed points of Trinitatian Dogma. (I would point to the strong affirmation of the need for penitence near the end of the creed as being evidence that we're not dealing with watered-down Christianity here.)
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 that the meaning of religion is love. He was rejected by his people, tortured and nailed hands and feet to a cross, and died. He was buried in the grave, but the hyenas did not touch him, and on the third day, he rose from that 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.
Pelikan was much taken by the idea of Christ always on safari doing good - a most lovely way of saying that Our Lord had no where to lay his head. Indeed, the emphasis on the life and ministry of Christ sets this apart from the more ancient creeds of Christendom. We normally jump from the Incarnation to the Crucifixion in those creeds which focus on re-affirming disputed points of doctrine. However, if one is coming up with a statement of the Christian faith in a non-polemic context, expressing what it is that is important about the life of the Christian, one can't simply pass over the life of Christ.
The description of what happened to Christ after his burial also has an interesting contemporary resonance. He was buried in the grave, but the hyenas did not touch him... One is inclined to grin - there's a certain poetry in putting it that way, and perhaps it's a little quaint, but it makes the point. The grave did not claim Him. He did not decay like other men and when you have the likes of John Dominic Crossan claiming that Christ was left in a shallow grave to be devoured by wild dogs and crows, there's a definite pertinence in affirming that on the contrary, the hyenas did not touch Him.
There's more which could be said about this creed - one could come up with several lacunae, but it's sincere and thought-provoking, and it's little surprise that Pelikan picked it out as something special.
Incidentally, it wasn't only the Masai who have come up with 'updated' Creeds. Paul VI's Credo of the People of God is a much neglected statement of the Catholic Faith.