If you have spent time in a Methodist/Wesleyan denomination, chances are you have recited a historic creed at some point during a worship service. Perhaps you memorized one as a child. Creeds are valuable for centering our apostolic faith.
Reciting a creed out loud and communally is a confessional act. We confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. We confess our belief in the Trinity. We speak our beliefs. Even rote recitation can help form our unconscious thoughts.
At the same time, our Wesleyan heritage was born in part through a theology that was sung. Charles Wesley wrote moving hymns full of vivid imagery and biblical allusions. Part of witness is not only reciting beliefs but also singing our proclamation about the nature of God and the nature of reality.
Faith-sharing encompasses witness beyond the recitation of creeds or verbal witness or rigorous preaching, valuable cornerstones of the Protestant reformation.
But we all sing. We sing and play instruments, we paint and sketch, we enact and perform, and all of these are triumphant expressions of the truth of our faith. We need not look further than Handel’s Messiah or the artwork of Makoto Fujimura to find that composed chords and pigment on canvas can declare the glory of God.
One time someone compared this famous film scene from Casablanca to the nature of communal worship. Sometimes we don’t need to talk at the darkness: sometimes we need to out–sing it.
“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:17)