A beautiful part of the richness of our worship is our shared creed. More than a declaration of faith, the creed brings the community together—we, together as God’s people, declare exactly that which we believe.
In the parish I serve, we’ve been discussing the creeds: slowly reading all three creeds line by line, learning some of the history, considering the contemporary meanings and situation of their composition, examining how the creeds are timeless, and exploring how they relate to our life and daily expressions of faith.
The proclamation of the creeds is most beneficial when it is not merely recited from memory, but when we engage with the words. As we recognise that our faith journey changes and grows with us, we realise that sometimes we emphasize one part more than another, or we struggle with one section that we never considered before, or that we strenuously concur with one of the declarations.
During confirmation class, we talked that while we strive to hold the entirety of the creeds in our hearts, faith is shared by the entire community. Should we be going through a time when we have difficulty with any aspect of the creed, we can rely on another member of the church to hold that faith—until we can get back to a place on our journey where we too can uphold that aspect. Likewise, it is our responsibility as Christians to hold the faith as firmly as we can, as others in our community may be struggling, and need to rely on us. A corporate faith is a strong faith.
This led us through a conversation about what it is that we believe. Our confirmands, then, were invited to think about their faith—what it is that they believe, what they would declare openly about their relationship with God.
While this would not be a creed as such, as issues of doctrine may be questioned, it is a good exercise to encourage careful, prayerful reflection on the faith which sustains us. It is an exercise that I undertake every year during Lent; as I prepare myself for the Spiritual journey of the Triduum and Resurrection, I am energised by the discipline of discerning where my faith journey has brought me.
And so I invite us all to consider a similar exercise: as we journey through this Holy Week, what do you believe? What words or images or music or other tools would you choose to declare your faith? How would you proclaim (in thought, word, and deed) your relationship with the living God? How would your declaration of faith involve and engage the whole Christian community?
What is it that you believe?