Friday, June 8, 2007

Friday's Anglican Moment: The Nicene Creed

One element of Anglican worship that I appreciate is the use of the historic creeds. Last year I taught our four homeschooled children the Nicene Creed from the Book of Common Prayer, and I was thrilled that today when J accompanied us, he remembered almost all of it. We learned it simply by reading it together each morning as we started school, and I'm really glad we did so.

The word "creed" comes from the Latin "creo," which means "I believe." So the creeds affirm the beliefs of basic Christianity. On their own, they are tremendous works of theology, but when stated aloud in a worship setting by a community of believers, these words sing of the strength of Christianity, which has come down intact through the centuries since the Nicene Creed of 325 AD. When Christians affirm these words of nearly 1700 years ago together, the Church is strengthened and Christ as fully human and fully divine is proclaimed for all to hear, and more than that, God is glorified, praised, and honored.

(The extra capitalizations are for the purpose of signaling a pause for breath as the congregation reads the Creed aloud together.)

I believe in one God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, And of all things visible and invisible:

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God; Begotten of the Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, Very God of very God; Begotten, not made; Being of one substance with the Father; By whom all things were made: Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, And was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, And was made man: And was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered and was buried: And the third day he rose again according to the Scriptures: And ascended into heaven, And sitteth on the right hand of the Father: And he shall come again, with glory, to judge both the quick and the dead; Whose kingdom shall have no end.

And I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord, and Giver of Life, Who proceedeth from the Father and the Son; Who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; Who spake by the Prophets: And I believe one Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church; I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins, and I look for the Resurrection of the dead: And the Life of the world to come. Amen.

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