The first Sunday we declared our faith together in The Globe Church with the Apostles’ Creed, I was immediately reminded of how I had to learn the Apostles’ Creed by heart for confirmation in the Lutheran church.
At the age of 13 we looked at it with our Pastor. We were encouraged to write our own “Declaration of Faith“. I don’t remember exactly what mine looked like but I know that it was in some aspects very different from the Apostles’ Creed. I wondered why the creed is concentrating so much on Jesus’ death, skipping his whole life? Now, as we study the creed together, I appreciate it more every Sunday. Let me share a few reasons why I think this Creed series has been an important part of our services.
As my example with the Lutheran church shows, the Apostles’ Creed is a uniting element between countless churches from all over the world. Churches separated by language, distance, denomination and even time are united in their faith in Jesus Christ. The Apostles’ Creed makes this visible. It reminds us that we as a church stand in a long line of Christians, the Apostles’ Creed having been in use for 1700 years. This fills me with awe that in all these times there have been people worshipping God and trusting in their salvation by faith.
But why has declaring our faith been so popular over all these years? It helps to look at Romans 10:9-10: ‘If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.’ Thus, declaring our faith with the mouth is an important part of believing. It helps me personally to be re-aligned with the truth, like a reset button when I have started wandering away or filling my mind with vanities. In the culture surrounding us, everybody has their own personal truths. Everything has to continually change to stay interesting. Hence, we need to be constantly reminded of the absolute truths we base our faith on. Of course, the danger of habitual repetition is that we stop thinking about the words we’re saying. We stop meaning them and just recite well-known sentences. That’s why it is very helpful for me that we look at a different line of the Apostles’ Creed each Sunday. It makes me reflect about the meaning of the content and helps me to better understand the Good News.
Having this short talk on each line of the creed every Sunday not just helps me with the content, but also shows how the Apostles’ Creed is based on the Bible. That underlines its credibility. Because, the fact that throughout the centuries many Christians have used the Apostles’ Creed, does not necessarily mean it is trustworthy. Even though it is encouraging to know that we follow in the footsteps of many faithful people before us. But actually learning how it derives from the Bible has enabled me to trust it, more than my 13-year-old self did.
I hope that the Apostles’ Creed series encourages you as much as me. Maybe you would even like to learn it by heart, as something you can use in your prayers?