I had a conversation yesterday that was especially gratifying as a pastor. We were reflecting on a meeting we had with our church’s leadership recently that resulted in a few edits to one of our creeds.
Our Sunday morning worship at Pleasant Bay includes reciting a creed together. We often use an ancient creed like the Apostles’ Creed. Some Sundays we use a creed derived from our denomination’s doctrinal statements. And there are creeds that we have written ourselves, like the one we recently edited regarding the purpose of the church. (Many of the creeds we use at Pleasant Bay are available here: http://pleasantbay.cedarpark.org/resource)
My friend explained that these creeds find their way into his conversations from time to time. Someone asked the broad question, “what do you believe?” and the outline of the Apostles’ Creed guided his response (not reciting the creed… that might be weird… but using the creed as mental cue cards). In another conversation the topic of praying for the sick came up, and key phrases of our creed on divine healing peppered the conversation. When opportunity arose to clearly state what he believed, our creeds provided a handy toolbox.
Obviously, I think it is worthwhile to take a moment in each worship service and proclaim together a foundational statement about our beliefs. I’m glad that our congregation has stuck with the discipline, even when most churches of our ilk do not. But when do creeds really matter? Creeds really matter when they apply directly in our day-to-day lives and conversations.