From the Well - February 10, 2016

THE NICENE CREED

We believe in one God,
The Father, the Almighty,
Maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
True God from True God,
begotten, not made,
of one being with the Father;
through Him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation

He came down from heaven,
was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary
and became truly human.
For our sake He was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
He suffered death and was buried.
On the third day He rose again
in accordance with the scriptures;
He ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory
to judge the living and the dead,
and His kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of Life,
who proceeds from the Father,
who with the Father and the Son
is worshiped and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic church.
We acknowledge one baptism
for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. Amen

Many of us grew up saying the Nicene Creed in worship. In fact, the Nicene Creed or Apostle’s Creed were probably said every Sunday of the year. While some faith practices do not recognize or use the creeds in worship, United Methodists have typically included the creeds in the order of worship. If you turn to the back of the hymnal starting on page 880, you will see other creeds besides the Nicene and Apostle’s creeds. At various times during the year, we use these creeds in our worship at Clemmons United Methodist Church.

So why do we still recite the ancient creeds? Why do we continue to write new ones? According to Luke Timothy Johnson who wrote the book, The Creed: What Christians Believe and why it Matters, our creeds find their roots in the earliest creedal statements of Judaism in Deuteronomy 6:4 (“Hear O Israel, the LORD our God is one LORD. And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your might.”). In Judaism, this is known as the Shema from the word hear. We see in the Shema a common belief about God and our response to the one God who is creator and sustainer of all things. The statement is both communal (our God) and personal (love the Lord your God).

While our creeds resemble the ancient Shema, there is an obvious difference in that our view of God comes through the lens of the resurrected Christ. The Nicene Creed, as well as many of the other creeds of the church, are important because they articulate our personal experience of the risen Christ and also our unity as followers, the church. In an age when so many things seem to divide us, the story held in common by all Christians expressed in the Nicene Creed can bring us together. While we disagree on many things, we can hopefully maintain unity through a common confession of faith. Think about it!

Matthew

Lenten Preaching Series: “We Believe: A sermon Series on the Nicene Creed”

2/14 – We Believe in God

2/21 – One Lord Jesus Christ

2/28 – Who for us . . . Became Human

3/6 – We Believe . . . in the Holy Spirit

3/13 – One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church

3/20 – Chancel Choir Easter Music (8:30 & 11 am Traditional Services)

3/27 – He Ascended . . . And Will Come Again (Easter Sunday)

The following book and study guide are available in our Food for Thought book store: The Nicene Creed by Martha Porter and The Creed by Luke Timothy Johnson.