THE CREEDS

THE CREEDS

 

“The title creed comes from the Latin word Credo which means ‘I believe.’ The creeds sum up the Church’s formulated faith and belief in the Gospel revelation. Its personal form – notice the ‘I,’ not ‘we’ – is a reminder of the individual profession of faith in the Gospel made by each of us at our baptism.

In reciting the creeds together, we declare that we receive, believe and are one with the teaching of God and His Church. We stand to show our respect for this faith and to show our willingness to act in defense of that faith whenever we are granted that privilege.

The practice of turning to the East when the creeds are recited is an ancient tradition in Christianity. From the earliest days, Christians worshipped and reverenced God facing the East to emphasize their belief in the Resurrection of their Living Lord Jesus. As the sun rose in the east, the Son of God rose from the dead. For this reason churches were built facing the East and are always considered to be liturgically facing the East even if they were built in a Westward direction. Also, this Resurrection theme explains why ministers in some parishes face the East to conduct services.

During the recitation of the creeds, many will bow their head at the mention of the name Jesus Christ. This practice is based on the scriptural statement, “. . . at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow” (Philippians 2:10). Also many will make the sign of the cross at the end of the creeds. Of course the cross is the most basic, central, and ancient symbol of the work of salvation. From the earliest days of Christianity, baptism was the point at which first commitment to Christ was pledged with creedal statements. The sign of the cross was made on the forehead of the one who had been baptized. This symbolic gesture was to remind the person that the only way to God was through the cross, faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ for payment of sin. Since reciting the creeds is a rehearsing of baptismal commitments, the sign of the cross is made at the end of the creeds in the same way it was first received at baptism as part of the covenant renewal process.

The Church recognizes three creeds: The Apostles’ Creed; the Nicene Creed; and the Athanasian Creed. We will look at each of these in the coming weeks.”

(Sources: Bishop Ray R. Sutton, An Instructional Commentary of the Order of Daily Morning Prayer, pp. 12-13; Bishop Ray R. Sutton, An Instructional Commentary of the Order of Holy Communion, p. 10; Rev. Brad Cunningham, The Holy Eucharist: An Instructed Celebration, p. 5)

Comments are closed.
%d bloggers like this: