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The Apostle’s Creed…and All That Jazz

    The first speed limit legislation was created in the United Kingdom with the Locomotive Acts (automobiles were in those days termed “light locomotives”). The 1865 Act introduced a UK speed limit of 10 mph (16 km/h) which was then reduced to 4 mph (6 km/h) in rural areas, and 2 mph (3 km/h) in towns by the 1865 Act (the ‘red flag act’).

    When the first motor car was built there were no speed limits, you know … those pesky numbers posted beside roads to slow us all down.

    The first parliament act to limit the speed was probably in response to somebody driving too fast.  That makes sense.  Now that a limit is in place we can all have the same understanding of “too fast”.  That first speed limiting law of 1865 has developed somewhat since then.  Today in Ontario there are different penalties if you drive more than 50 Kph  above the posted speed.  The laws are written to prevent misunderstandings of what is meant by speeding.

    In a way the Apostles and Nicene creeds were a response to concerns about misunderstandings.  Comparing the two creeds you will see much more definition of who Christ is and his relationship to God the Father.   Just like the speeding laws are intended to provide unity of understanding (i.e. what is too fast?), our creeds make statement of what we collectively believe.  That is why we use them publically in our worship services.

    While I’ve heard beautiful sung renditions of the Lord’s Prayer, I’ve never heard either creed sung in church.  So I did some research and found one song by Rich Mullins simply called “Creed”. Rich does a great job of making the apostle’s creed sound songful, however it is very much a solo piece and not a song that we could sing together.  While he stays very close the words that we use on Sunday morning, Rich also adds a few words of his own in the chorus

    And I believe what I believe
    Is what makes me what I am
    I did not make it, no it is making me
    It is the very truth of God and not
    The invention of any man

    Rich Mullins is doing theology here as he adds the statements about it “making him” and that this is fully God’s truth.  The Apostle’s creed is NOT included in our scripture but yet it tells us very clearly states what is fundamental to our common understanding who our Trinitarian God is. You Tube link – Rich Mullins Creed song.

    In fact, all of what we do in Sunday morning worship makes statements about what we believe. So we select songs for Sunday, not only do they need to be able to be sung as one body, the words we use are in fact creedal statements.  Pick any song that we use in worship, look at the words, and think  about the statements that we are making about ourselves and our relationship to our God. Each song really is its own little creed from “Hark the Glad sound” (ELW239) to “Oh, for A thousand Tongues to Sing” (ELW886).


    On Good Friday we sing about “no story so divine” and “This is my friend in whose sweet praise I all my days could gladly spend”, and then come Easter morning we will sing “Alleluias”, “Christ is risen”, and “Christ is victorious” themes.  Such a rich texture of ideas and music.  Our worship songs are like theological jazz … plenty of room to improvise ideas (musical and theological) that speak to us all about us and our relationship to the Trinitarian God we all love and who first loved us.

    Pastor Steve

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