Monday, June 1, 2009

Public Radio Part 3 - Creed Kick-off

For most of this summer, Pastor will be preaching on the text of the Creed. If you want a jump start to thinking about the power, meaning, poetry, text, and theology of the creed I suggest you check out Krista Tippett's Speaking of Faith episode titled "The Need for Creeds." Her program is a weekly discussion that is among the most reasoned and intelligent religious dialogues today (or at least that's my humble endorsement of it). That particular installment discusses the hundreds and thousands of Creeds throughout history and lays a great foundation for the discussion that is ahead for us in the coming weeks.

I've been anticipating this summer's services because the Creed is an endlessly fascinating doctrinal statement. So many words in it reflect a battle against some long-forgotten heresy so that the text can represent the heart of our faith. (Incidentally, that's one more reason that the text is arguably more powerful in Latin, in which it lies closer to the intent of the authors.) The words that we can recite from rote memory every Sunday present a bold list of claims about creation, the nature of Christ, the doctrine of the trinity, and so much more.

The Creed is also poetry, though, and as such is closely related to music. Every congregation falls into its own cadence and rhythm for reciting the statements of faith. One of my favorite moments in the Nicene Creed is the insertion of the words "in glory" in the clause "He will come again, in glory, to judge the living and the dead." The extra rhythm of that triplet, with a slight accent on "glo" gives the phrase a beautiful lilt that transforms it from prose to poetry.

If you're not interested in listening to the entire program from Speaking of Faith, at least check out this Maasai Creed that uses the imagery of African tribes to describe the ministry of Christ. It's unusual, even foreign, yet inspiring and intriguing. I hope many of you will join us every Wednesday and Sunday this summer to join in the discussion and the music.

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