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The Creed as a Song of Praise
The Creed as a Song of Praise
On the 2nd Sunday of Lent, around 180 people who are preparing for initiation into the Catholic Church at Easter gathered in Brisbane’s Cathedral of St Stephen for the Presentation of the Creed.
In his homily at the ceremony, Archbishop John Bathersby gave a wonderful description of the Creed as an act of praise and worship. Here is a slightly abbreviated version of his address:
“Each Sunday we proclaim the Creed at Mass. It is not so much an indication of what we believe, as a glorification of God. We are meant to proclaim the Creed as a prayer. As such it is an integral part of the Sunday liturgy, not something to be thrown aside at the whim of the celebrant or congregation. It is not a long boring list of what Christians believe but a vibrant, life-filled, glorification of God, and of God’s love for us.
There seems to be a greater appreciation of the similarity between Gloria and Creed in the Eastern Christian Church than in our own Western Christian Church. The Mass and all that it embraces is a glorification of God in and through the Communion of the Church, in and through the worshipping community. Its structure, its every word, its total liturgy, is a proclamation to the world of God’s goodness.
The giving of the Creed therefore on an occasion like this is an indication of the importance of your journey into the membership of the Church and into the Body of Christ. The Creed is a reminder to all those who are on that journey exactly what Catholics believe, but even more importantly it is a proclamation of faith to the world and an act of worship.
If God is not the centre of our lives, or if we are not striving to make God the centre of our lives, then the giving of the Creed makes no sense whatsoever. As the elect you are entering more deeply into the Body of Christ and the Communion of Believers. In entering that Communion you will be entering into a relationship with God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit and through the incarnate Son of God with all Church members and all Christians, indeed with all humanity and all creation. What you have set out to do and are doing today is truly incredible. If you open your hearts and minds to the mystery of what is happening, it will change your lives.
The faith of the Church is contained in the Creed which stretches back down a long line of believers to the believers of the 4th century who proclaimed the Creed at Nicea in 325. But it goes back even further to the very companions of Christ, and then forward again to the great family of God proclaiming this Creed of worship before the throne of the Lamb in heaven. Today you are grasping a Creed that has been grasped before you ever since the 4th century and will continue to be grasped after you as an indication of the faith that binds us together.
The best way you can indicate your acceptance today is not so much by saying “yes” to its multiple clauses but by proclaiming it as a hymn of praise to our mysterious God who through the power of the Holy Spirit opens our hearts and minds to believe. May you be determined to sustain your faith through the rest of your lives until we all meet together in the presence of God with all our friends and relations in that incredible communion of people rejoicing before the throne of the lamb. There we will praise and thank God for ever.