Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Call your opinions your creeds and
you will change them every week.
Phillips Brooks

Light half-believers of our casual creeds, who never deeply felt, nor clearly willed, whose insight never has borne fruit in deeds, whose vague resolves never have been fulfilled. Matthew Arnold

To know that in the Philippines this morning this was the creed that was recited and to know that the Emperor Justinian in the sixth century and Thomas Aquinas in the 13th and my father and my grandfather all affirmed this creed -- it's we, all of us together. Jaroslav Pelikan

Praying Our History
On this day in 325 the first Council of Nicea convened in Constantinople. Most of the discussion was a critique of Arianism, a view that denied that Jesus was fully human. The wording of the church's first ecumenical creed was the battleground. In the end only two bishops refused to sign the document which became the first version of the Nicene Creed. Today it is the most widely accepted creed in the Christian faith.

Are creeds important in the 21st century church, or are they antiquated opinions that make little difference in our living of the faith? In forming and maintaining Christian community and making disciples of Christ, the creed is useful in several ways:

1. The Creed is a public statement of faith, a uniform way in which new Christians can confess their faith in Jesus Christ and the church can establish its identity in the public sphere.
2. The Creed anchors our faith to a tradition, making it easier for us to remember who we are and more difficult for us to be led astray by strange doctrines.
3. The Creed is a preaching and teaching tool, giving an outline for further growth in discipleship.
4. The Creed provides a doctrinal basis for different churches to accept one another, a touchstone of true Christian belief.

The Nicene Creed continued to be debated, amended, expanded, and subject to contemporary translation. The United Methodist Church uses a 1988 version drafted by the English Language Liturgical Consultation.

The Nicene Creed
We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.
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; through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven,
was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary and became truly human.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.
We believe in the one holy catholic and apostolic church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Closing Prayer
Lord, we are a people full of words,
hoping that the right words will secure our knowledge of you, once and for all.

Yet our words are inadequate to your reality.
The best vocabulary we have is silence
where we know nothing beyond your loving presence.

And so we shall recite our creeds, bearing witness to you
through the wisdom of the years.
Then we shall fall silent, releasing our firmest convictions
in order to know you more truely. Amen

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