life is good

Friday, August 25, 2006

I Believe... in Jesus Christ his only Son

In a current sermon series on The Apostle's Creed, we at Chapel Hill Church are hoping to increase the boldness of our proclamation each week. As great as tradition is, it really is just mumbling words (to God and to us) if we don't connect to what we're saying.

This coming Sunday, we'll be engaging the scandal of the incarnation.

"and in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord:
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,

suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, dead, and buried;
the third day he rose from the dead;
he ascended into heaven,"

After looking at them here, it's hard to believe how quickly we run through these words in times of worship! N.T. Wright has written that through the gift of the Son "a great door has swung open in the cosmos that can never again be shut."

Jesus isn't just a nice gesture on God's part. He is the very presence of God who radically changes the world and the way we view it. The world has a new beginning and a new ending because Jesus walked the earth.

I want our proclamation of the creeds to reflect the unbelievably profound words they contain. I worshipped at an upstart Presbyterian church (emphasis on the Reformed) in Nashville several years ago. I was impressed by the sense of purpose that surrounded the affirmation of faith. Each worship book had the words "he rose from the dead" highlighted with yellow ink, and the congregation shouted them out accordingly each week.

My powerful bent to barrow great ideas is strong here, but I can't decide which words are most amazing. I'm relatively new at Chapel Hill, and so asking the congregation to decorate their hymnals with bright highlighter ink is maybe not the right move. Instead, I suppose we'll just keep reminding each other what amazing things God has done so that our proclamation will be vital to our worship and to our lives that flow from that worship.