Does your worship often include a creed? This would be a week to include the creed. What are the statements of faith that speak most clearly to you as the worship planners? What creeds speak most profoundly in your congregation? If you are used to a familiar one, choose a different one this week and allow for time to reflect on the words. Perhaps the liturgist could introduce the creed or statement of faith with some words about why it was chosen and draw the congregation’s attention to a few select statements—all with the purpose of giving them time to read before reciting. We live into our statements of faith. If a Sunday school class or confirmation group has written a creed, use that. Invite the congregation to consider writing their own statements of faith to share or to keep to themselves in order to focus their own journeys.
There are, of course, two dimensions to our text for this week. The inward and the outward might be one way to describe them. A statement of faith or a creed can represent the inward dimension. What is it that we believe? What is it that defines us as followers of Jesus Christ, as disciples?
But how do we represent the outward focus during worship? “Present yourself” is the call to live outwardly, to live out loud, as Steven Curtis Chapman said years ago. Is there a call to action you can promote? Is there a cause to join, a public witness to be made in your community? How can you call the worshiping congregation to present themselves as those approved by God, those guided by God?
Let our prayers look inward and outward at the same time. We pray for our own growth, our own healing, our own transformation. At the same time, we pray for a hurting and hungry world and for the will to reach beyond our walls in service and love. Let our songs sing of the Christ of faith, who sustains us with a powerful presence but also of the Jesus who ate with sinners and healed the sick, the one who went out approved by God.
Rev. Dr. Derek Weber, Director of Preaching Ministries, served churches in Indiana and Arkansas and the British Methodist Church. His PhD is from University of Edinburgh in preaching and media. He has taught preaching in seminary and conference settings for more than 20 years.