The Order of Worship: The Affirmation of Faith
The craziness of these past weeks derailed us from our series on the Order of Worship. We are walking through our order of worship each week and considering carefully what we are doing and why we do it. So far, we have covered everything from the Call to Worship at the beginning of our service to the Prayer of Intercession that follows the sermon. This week, we will consider the Affirmation of Faith.
Most Sundays out of the year, we use the Apostles’ Creed as the affirmation of our faith. The Creed, in some form or another, dates back to at least the third century and has been used by the Church throughout the world—both East and West, Roman Catholic and Protestant—to express the very heart of our confession. It is trinitarian in outline and includes statements about the Father, the Son, and the Spirit followed by a paragraph which includes statements about the Church and the end of redemptive history. It is a biblically sound statement about who God is and what he has done, is doing, and will do to restore his people and all creation to himself.
We recite the Creed each week for several reasons. First, we remind ourselves of the very heart of our faith—the reality of our triune God, the person and work of Christ, and the sign and seal of the Holy Spirit unto redemption on the Last Day. In this is all our love, hope, mercy, and grace vested: the truth of the gospel. Second, we recite it together to remind one another that this is our shared and common faith. Third, we recite our confession of faith each week as a corporate testimony to those present among us who may not believe. In the sermon, they heard what the Bible says and what the minister believes. In the Creed, the congregation unites as one voice to affirm those core truths of the Christian faith. Fourth, we recite it to add our voices to the rest of the Church around the world and throughout history. We express a solidarity and union with them in this shared confession. And finally, weekly recitation of the Creed establishes it as an ebenezer of sorts in the lives of our members. Because we say it weekly, most of us have it memorized. No matter where we find ourselves or what circumstances we find ourselves in, we can recite the Apostles' Creed as a statement of our faith. It will remind us of the hope that is ours in every circumstance, since the truth of our confession does not change with our circumstances. As believers, when we know the Bible well, this familiar confession of our faith will lead us into the Scriptures, where the promises that are the grounds of our hope are found.
Next week, we will consider the singing of the Doxology and the Prayer of Thanksgiving as we draw near the conclusion of our worship service series.
Your fellow servant of Christ,