The Apostles’ Creed

Listen to the Apostles’ Creed sung by a choir of Tongan youth in the Uniting Church Sydney Australia.

What is the Apostles’ Creed?

The Apostles’ Creed is the ancient creed of Baptism, it is used in the Church’s daily worship to recall our Baptismal Covenant.

An Outline of the Faith: The Book of Common Prayer, p. 852

The Apostles’ Creed

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.
He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit
and born of the Virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again.
He ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.

For further reading and reflection

The Symbolum Apostolorum was developed between the second and ninth centuries. It is the most popular creed used in worship by Western Christians. Its central doctrines are those of the Trinity and God the Creator. It has been called the Creed of Creeds.
Legend has it that the Apostles wrote this creed on the tenth day after Christ’s ascension into heaven. That is not the case, though the name stuck. However, each of the doctrines found in the creed can be traced to statements current in the apostolic period. The earliest written version of the creed is perhaps the Interrogatory Creed of Hippolytus (ca. A.D. 215). The current form is first found in the writings of Caesarius of Arles (d 542).
The creed was apparently used as a summary of Christian doctrine for baptismal candidates in the churches of Rome. Hence it is also known as The Roman Symbol. As in Hippolytus’ version it was given in question and answer format with the baptismal candidates answering in the affirmative that they believed each statement.

Source: http://www.creeds.net/ancient/apostles.htm

Note: the link will take you to a page devoted to the Apostles’ Creed including additional links to the text of the creed in Latin and Greek, historical notes and much more

A House of Hospitality

When the new St. Margaret’s sanctuary was available for use in June 1989 The Rev. Brad Hall, Fourth Rector of St. Margaret’s,  preached a sermon, “Solomon’s Prayer: Our First Day in the New Church Building” (June 4, 1989), that we continue to live up to and into as a community.

Though speaking about the building itself and the entire St. Margaret’s community, Brad’s words give us a vision when spoken into our little community–The Sunday Morning Forum–within the larger community. We need to make our room and our presence match what the congregation does in the sanctuary in Sunday worship. Here is an excerpt of Brad’s sermon; hear that the Spirit is saying the same thing to us 22 years later:

God’s House is a House of Hospitality

This is truly a beautiful building, and people will come and visit it. Whether they are drawn here by its architectural majesty, its open, light-filled sanctuary, or to worship and pray, we must always be prepared to welcome and accept all sojourners and visitors who wish to enter our doors.

This is an Episcopal Church, a member of the worldwide Anglican Communion of over seventy million peoples. We are also a community church, a part of this Coachella Valley, and our church is a gift to all who live in their beautiful desert. And so the doors of our building and our hearts must be open to welcome, in God’s Love, all who come to us seeking peace, seeking an answer to their prayers, seeking God, Himself.

My final prayer for us is that your love and Christ’s Love will so shine through these doors and windows that all sojourners who come here seeking will find that their prayers will be answered and that God’s Peace and Joy will fill their hearts.

Note: the entire sermon will soon be posted in the Supplemental Resource category 6/7/11

The Rev. Lane Hensley, current Rector of St. Margaret’s, continues this fine tradition among us. In November 2010 Lane set out some principles for our ministry. Here is an excerpt to help guide our work in the Sunday Morning Forum, a community within a community:

Our collective task is to take our place as members of the Body of Christ, and to come collectively “to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ.” Here, then, are some principles that I think need to guide that process.

We are a public Church, and a ministry leader in outreach, formation, music, and worship. Our efforts should be directed to the community we serve in mission, and their highest hopes, deepest fears, and most important deliberations should find home at St. Margaret’s.

We expect God’s blessing on our work, and to grow and be transformed into the Body of Christ.

Lane’s principles can be viewed or downloaded here: From the Rector’s Desk, November 2010

Let us be open and inviting to others in the spirit of Christ’s love as we build community. We have a fine vision and strong principles and God’s amazing grace guiding us along the Way.

Your thoughts and observations and questions are important. Please use the Comment section to continue the conversation.

A Pentecost: Art for readings 06/12/2011

GIOTTO di Bondone
Click to open Web Gallery of Art Artist Biography

Scenes from the Life of Christ: Pentecost
1304-06
Fresco, 200 x 185 cm
Click to open Web Gallery of Art display page.
 Click on their image to enlarge/fit page etc.

Cappella Scrovegni (Arena Chapel), Padua
Click to open Web Gallery of Art location/setting information.

A Easter7: Art for readings 06/05/2011

GIOTTO di Bondone
Click to open Web Gallery of Art Artist Biography

Scenes from the Life of Christ: Ascension
1304-06
Fresco, 200 x 185 cm
Click to open Web Gallery of Art display page.
 Click on their image to enlarge/fit page etc.

Cappella Scrovegni (Arena Chapel), Padua
Click to open Web Gallery of Art location/setting information.

Easter 5A: A follower of the Way

Jesus said, “you know the way to the place where I am going”

Thomas replied, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?”

Jesus said “I am the way….”

We know where we are going: into the reign of God. We know the way. With a lot of patience and steadfast diligence, with a little humor and an unwavering focus, we are followers of the Way (one of the earliest descriptions of “Christians” see Acts 9:2). So what does that mean?

As the week ends try finishing this sentence 5 times “As a follower of the Way I . . . .”

Great 50 Days of Easter

Great Fifty Days of Easter
The feast of Easter is a season of fifty days, from Easter Eve through the Day of Pentecost. From early times the Greek word pentecost (fiftieth day) was used also for the whole Paschal season. During this season there is no fasting. The Council of Nicaea (325) directed that Christians are to pray standing. The word “alleluia” (praise the Lord) is said or sung repeatedly, which contrasts sharply with the season of Lent when the alleluia is omitted. The color of liturgical vestments and hangings is white or gold.

—An online Glossary of Terms maintained by The Episcopal Church

Handout p. 1

Bowing and kneeling and standing and sitting, O my

Often, when someone has spoken or written well, and especially if I agree with what is being said, it is better for me to pass along the wisdom undisturbed (but properly attributed). Rather than tell you what you are about to read, I ask you to read it and think about it and let it be a part of our ongoing conversation.

The source for this extended quotation about posture and prayer: Patricia S. Klein, Worship Without Words: The Signs and Symbols of Our Faith, (Brewster, MA: Paraclete Press, 2000), pp. 127-130

Those new to the liturgical tradition may be startled by the considerable amount of movement during the service. The uninitiated may perceive no rhyme or reason to the bowing, the standing, the sitting, and the kneeling. Indeed, it may appear to have all the mystery of a secret handshake.

Bowing and kneeling have always been a part of human worship as signs of humility and reverence. In Paul’s letter to the Philippians (2:9-11), he included the words to an early hymn describing Jesus:

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

It is the words “every knee should bow” that acknowledge the posture that Christians assume before their Lord and Savior. It is this hymn as well that provides the key reason for bowing and kneeling: “at the name of Jesus….” During the liturgy, it is at the name of Jesus that heads bow. And. by extension, it is to those things that remind us of him, that worshipers bow or kneel.

There are no penalties for not bowing at the right places during the liturgy. And the only hazard in not kneeling at the right points in the service is a brief moment of standing alone. In general, worshipers pray on their knees, so when it comes time to pray in liturgical services, it’s a pretty good bet people will kneel. (NIV)

To those who come from nonliturgical traditions, bowing and kneeling may seem utterly foreign and even distasteful, enough to keep a person from participating. But all aspects of worship are intended to point the worshiper to Jesus, even things as fundamental as posture. Kneeling recalls the bedtime prayers of childhood and bowing reminds us of the honor ascribed to greatness. Sometimes the body can remember what the mind forgets. And as C. S. Lewis points out, “The body ought to pray as well as the soul. Body and soul are both the better for it.” (1)

bowing. An inclination of the head and body, or just the head. Liturgically, bowing is a sign of supplication and adoration towards God; bowing also can indicate respect or reverence toward a person or thing, or express a greeting. In the Roman Church, the head is bowed

  • at the doxology (in which the Holy Trinity is invoked);
  • at the name of Jesus, Mary, or the saint of the day; and
  • at the consecration of the Eucharist.

Bowing of the body is made

  • before the altar, and
  • at specified times during the Mass.

In Anglican churches, people may bow

  • as the processional cross passes by;
  • before the altar;
  • at the Name of Jesus;
  • at the mention of the Holy Trinity;
  • toward the Book of the Gospel
  • at the Gloria tibi and the Laus tibi;
  • during the creed, at the words describing the Incarnation.
  • A bow also is exchanged between the thurifer and those being incensed when incense is used.

genuflect, genuflection, or genuflexion. (Latin, “to bend the knee.”) The act of recognizing the presence of God in the Holy Eucharist by bending the right knee upon entering and leaving the pew while facing the altar.

kneeling. The posture often assumed for private or corporate prayer as an expression of humility before God, reflecting both an attitude of penance and an attitude of adoration.

On entering a church, or in passing before the altar, kneel down all the way without haste and hurry, putting your heart into what you do, and let your whole attitude say, Thou art the great God. It is an act of humility, an act of truth, and every time you kneel it will do your soul good. (Romano Guardini) (2)

standing. The posture of respect that worshipers assume for processions, for the reading of the Gospel, the creed, the prayers of the people, from the Presentation of the Gifts through the breaking of the bread, and then at the Prayer after Communion and the recessional.

Standing is the other side of reverence toward God. Kneeling is the side of worship in rest and quietness; standing is the side of vigilance and action. It is the respect of the servant in attendance, of the soldier on duty. (Romano Guardini) (3)

____________

(1) C. S. Lewis, Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer (New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1963, 1964), p. 17

(2) Romano Guardini, Sacred Signs, (St. Louis, MO: Pio Decimo Press, 1956), p. 20

(3) Romano Guardini, Sacred Signs, (St. Louis, MO: Pio Decimo Press, 1956), p. 22