Of all our creeds and confessions, the Apostles’ Creed is probably the one with which we’re all the most familiar. Even the youngest members of our congregation know how to belt out Hymn 1A. Many of us can recall stories of our younger selves or others singing the Creed at, let’s say “interesting,” times. For instance, I vividly recall one of my younger sisters driving around our crescent on her bike, loudly singing Hymn 1A over and over again for the whole world to hear. I guess that was her idea of evangelism or neighbourhood outreach. There’s little question that the Apostles’ Creed connects with many of us at some level, especially when we’re young. Perhaps that has to do with the tune of Hymn 1A, or maybe it has to do with the actual content of the creed. I don’t know.
We are familiar with the Creed, but that doesn’t always mean that we sing it or confess it thoughtfully. The danger is there that familiarity makes autopilot our default mode, especially as we get older and have sung it hundreds or thousands of times. Think about it, if you’re about 50 years old, and let’s say you’ve been going to church for 45 years or so and if you’ve been to every afternoon service, you will have sung the Apostles’ Creed over 2300 times. Whether it was Hymn 45 (as it used to be in the old blue Book of Praise) or Hymn 1A, that’s a lot of times.
So, it’s good for us to periodically step back and revisit the basics of the Apostles’ Creed. For instance, what do we know about the history of this document? What is its basic structure? Why do we have creeds and confessions anyway?