Why do we say the Nicene Creed?

The Rev. Jim Richardson, Priest-in-Charge

Following the sermon, we take a few moments of silence to let the words dwell within us. Then we recite together the Nicene Creed, which was written in the fourth century to state the Church’s Trinitarian belief in God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It was written as a loyalty oath for bishops, but has since evolved into a central part of our worship.

The Creed expresses the faith of the whole Church in all times and places, and it is not just about ourselves as individuals and our individual beliefs. It is a brief statement of the basics of Christianity, and stands in contrast to the longer more elaborate dogmatic statements and “confessions” that became the norm in the Reformation of the 1500s. The Nicene Creed has room for interpretation.

Note that the Nicene Creed begins with “We.” Although the meaning of some of the phrases are not clear, think of the Creed as a prayer that you share with everyone today who is reciting this creed in their church. And think of it as a prayer you share with everyone who has gone before us, and everyone who will come after us who will recite this. The Creed is part of our communion with all Christians in all times and places.

Some people make the sign of the cross at the end of the creed to remind us that at our baptism we were signed with the sign of the cross and made Christ’s own forever. Such acts of reverence are ways in which we show outwardly what we believe inwardly.