We heard eleven pipers piping, the eleven faithful apostles. We saw the difficult question of loyalty that apostleship raises. How difficult is made clear when Peter, in fear of the repression coming down on the small band after the arrest of their leader, three times denies knowing him.
It is a powerful story and a humbling one. Cops and informers, spymasters and double agents, the pairs must work together but the moral ambiguities, the stuff of crime fiction and spy thrillers from Ed McBain to Charles McCarry, show us how fraught is the way of truth and justice and fidelity.
Not without reason, McBain’s heroes Steve Carella and Meyer Meyer, raised in the Church and Jewish Orthodoxy, often must choose the less bad over the unattainable best, but they are men of iron dogma on good and evil. Paul Christopher, McCarry’s top spy, must make deals with the wicked to pursue the truth, to not live among lies.
We are left with dogma, and we would be foolish to despise it, for it offers certainties that, though unattainable by many in our day and age, can at least serve as guide posts.
The Apostles’ Creed represented by twelve drummers drumming on this Twelfth Day of Christmas, bears some resemblance to the thirteen principles of faith listed by Maimonides. Both go back to the Creation for their foundation doctrine.
I believe by complete faith that the Creator, blessed be His name, is the Creator and Guide for all created beings.
I believe in God the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
There are serious divergences, notably regarding the messiah, but that is as it must be. The miracle of Christmas is just this, that the Creator makes it apparent to all his creatures; as the Epiphany, tomorrow, shows.
The First Day of Christmas: The Sacred Partridge
The Second and Third Days of Christmas: Love and Faith
The Fourth and Fifth Days of Christmas: Gifts to Improve You
The Sixth and Seventh Day of Christmas: Minding the Planet
The Eighth Day of Christmas: Milkmaids and Beatitudes
The Ninth Day of Christmas: Holy Spirit in Action
The Tenth Day of Christmas: Obey and Be Free
The Eleventh Day of Christmas: Followers and Believers