...all things visible and invisible...
I grew up in a Catholic home. Every Wednesday, after going to public school, I went to catechism class at my local parish where I learned the stories of the Old Testament, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the inspiring stories of the saints of the church from the first disciples down to modern times. I learned the great creeds of the church, particularly the Nicene Creed, so named because it was adopted by the first ecumenical council that was called by the Roman Emperor Constantine in 325 CE and held in the city of Nicaea in what is now modern Turkey.
Of all the creeds, the Nicene Creed is the most widely used by churches both for worship and instruction in the central beliefs of Christianity. In the first sentence of the creed, the Christian declares belief in Almighty God who is the creator of "heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible." I learned of course that this meant that God created all there is on both the physical and spiritual plane, and that as a human being living on earth, I was part of the "visible" creation of God. But when I was growing up, I did not feel very visible.
As a Latino person of color from a working class family, I was utterly invisible in the public school curriculum. Most teachers had zero cultural competency in Latino communities and were unapologetic about it. In fact, schools played a significant role in undermining Latino culture, even telling parents not to speak to their children in Spanish: just one of the many ways America welcomed its non-anglo "huddled masses yearning to breathe free."
There were no role models who looked like me in America's political culture, the world of fame, fortune, film and fashion. Even the countless billboard signs that propagandized Americans from one end of the country to the other were completely devoid of anything resembling me or my culture. In fact, the only person who looked like me who was well known when I was growing up, was the Lone Ranger's Indian sidekick, Tonto, a name which means "Dummy" in Spanish. You can be sure we wondered if that name choice was deliberate.
I am grateful to the Catholic Church for contributing to that part of my education concerned with soulcraft, which was largely absent in public school and a wider American culture rooted in values that are first and foremost money-oriented. Whatever shortcomings the church as a whole can be blamed for, my local parish at least was the only community in American society (besides my family, relatives and close friends) where I did not feel invisible.
This was reinforced several years after high school, while attending a very peculiar Protestant church. It was quite a diverse congregation (as I said, unusual) where Hispanics, whites, some Asians and blacks all worshiped together, and I never remember once the Hispanic pastor having to give a sermon to deal with problems of prejudice among us. It was a little taste of multicultural heaven on earth (Revelation 7:9-10); a heaven that Anders Breivik would no doubt loathe intensely.
It was a wonderful time (not the least of which because I met my future wife there), and I always say that it is because of visible, proven human love, that I came to believe the otherwise unprovable message that I am unreservedly loved by an invisible God.
Unprejudiced love, love without borders, the kind of love depicted on a cross almost 2000 years ago, cured invisibility and its causes. Despite all attempts by the Anders Breivik's of the world, I am visible still.
"...and the Light shone in the darkness, and the darkness could not overcome it." (John 1:5)