You probably have not noticed, if you attend any Liturgy at All Saints except the 8:00am on Sundays, but I thought it might be interesting to others also. When I arrived at All Saints a few months ago I noticed that the Nicene Creed called for at the 8:00am on Sundays began on page 327 and was called the Traditional Form. Unfortunately I saw this in the middle of the Liturgy and meant to change this in the bulletin, but, by the time we finished I had forgotten. I just automatically used the Creed on p. 326 and continued for a long time just to use what I have always used at Rite I. But then I remembered that I wanted to tell everyone why I use the Creed on page 326 and never the one on 327. And the people at 8:00am were very nice to humor the old guy (me) and not say anything. I told them why last Sunday.
You do deserve to know why any change happens, and it is also a little teaching about the history of the Church’s use of the Creed; so I thought I would do it here. As originally written and passed by the Council of Nicea in 325 AD ( a significant time ago) the Creed was written to take care of the controversy over the nature of Christ. Simply put, was Jesus God or just a man? It was written for the whole Church and not as a personal statement of faith. That has always been the Apostle’s Creed, used at Baptism. In the 1928 Episcopal Prayer Book the Creed was changed to “I” believe, which is a nice thought but historically inaccurate. And it is used in the Eucharistic Liturgy as a corporate statement of the Church’s faith and thus inappropriate as well as historically incorrect.
Mistakes are made in the Church, but when they are enshrined in the Prayer Book, it can take decades to undo them. We are in Lent and these lessons can be used to help us know that we too often make mistakes, but it should not take this long to say, “I was wrong and I want to change and make things right.”
Sometimes it is pride that keeps us from correcting things, but often it is because it takes too much work to correct what is done. Never feel like an apology makes us less than we are. It is rather a sign of us not being perfect. We know that already and should never shy away from getting back on the path of righteousness and truth.
Lenten blessings to all.
I have been asked a lot of questions in my years of ordination. Some are simple and some almost seem like “they should know that”. But all have been important to those who asked and everyone deserves an answer. I have said many times that if you cannot explain why you do something, then you should not be doing it. I have answered several questions in my recent articles and I pray a few more might be helpful for some one.
As a bishop I have been asked why I take off my hat, whether the purple zucchetto ( small skull cap) or my miter, when I am at the altar leading the Eucharistic Prayer. First, it is a prayer and Miters are removed for prayer, but I do not put it on until after Communion. But the zucchetto is also removed at the Communion. The second reason that a head covering is removed here, for a clergy person, is humility and reverence. I also remove my bishop’s ring at the Altar. I hate to disappoint some, but it has to do with the ring getting in the way and invariably hitting the metal that is used. There is nothing like a loud bang in the middle of things. So I take mine off. Sorry, no sound theological reason.
Also concerning the Communion, I also say, “Jesus Christ was made known to His disciples, in the breaking of the bread.” before the Fraction anthem - “ [Alleluia.] Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast. [Alleluia.]”. The phrase is a paraphrase of Luke 24:35 in Scripture that I picked up from Bishop William Stevens, Bishop of Fond du Lac in the 1980s. For me, it always was a good explanation of why we break the bread. And Christ is shown to us in the Communion.
In a recent article I talked about why I do not say, when speaking, the Great Amen at the end of the Eucharistic Prayer. But, if you notice, I rarely, if ever, say the words in italics either. They are almost always a rubric (instructions which are not said out loud, except in teaching), or they are a response for the congregation gathered, to the action or words proclaimed.
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