What do you believe?

Paul Levy

I was brought up in a church that didn't have a written liturgy. That's not to say there wasn't a liturgy. The argument that we have no set liturgy is ever so slightly ridiculous. Can you imagine getting up and announcing a hymn and saying, 'There are no words. Please feel free to sing along to the tune and ad lib'. The prayers also were pretty much the same every week and you had what was known as the long prayer which struck dread into the heart of every small boy. On occasions you were lifted up to heaven but more often than not it was interminably dull. I seem to have spent quite a number of the prayers with my father's hand clamped around my neck or leg longing for it to end.

Anyway, since coming to IPC, I've been introduced to a light liturgy. There are Presbyterians who are really ''wanna be anglicans'' and want to legislate for every bit of the service with endless liturgy. I'm aware that we live in a culture where there are many people who are not particularly literate and find reading uncomfortable. However, written confessions of sin and confession of faith and the Apostles Creed are particularly helpful in screwing good solid theology into the minds and hearts of our people.

I've learnt to love the Creed; the certainty of it, the joy in confessing our faith with one another. There is a sense in which we should roar with joy after reading it but of course we never would.

We live in an age where people don't know what they believe or why they believe it. In the film Chocolat where one of the main characters was asked 'what do you believe?', this was the reply:

Magic carpet rides, rune magic. Ali Baba and visions of the Holy Mother, astral travel and the future in the dregs of a glass of red wine...Buddha. Frodo's journey into Mordor. The transubstantiation of the sacrament. Dorothy and Toto. The Easter Bunny. Space aliens. The Thing in the closet. The Resurrection and the Life at the turn of a card...I've believed them all at one time or another. Or pretended to. Or pretended not to.

We have certainty in an age of uncertainty. We confess our faith with an army of believers around the world and down through the ages. Next time you say the creed give a cheer and rejoice in rock solid truth.