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Saying or singing the Creed

31 March 2017

Write, if you any answers to the questions listed at the end of this section, or to add to the answers given below.


Your answers

Why has it become the tradition in the Western Catholic Church for the Creed to be said rather than sung, when it is well-known that singing unites the people?


Singing does indeed unite the people . . . when they all know the tune. Even as an ordained minister, I have attended churches where I have found myself unable to affirm my faith publicly alongside the rest of the congregation because I didn’t know the setting to which the creed was sung.

Perhaps churches are recognising the need to be accessible to newcomers.

(The Revd) Rich Cresswell

Muxton, Shropshire


Congregational settings that were very widely known and easy to pick up are still heard at traditional-language sung eucharists (usually Merbecke or Martin Shaw’s Anglican Folk Mass, and occasion­ally plainsong), but have not had their successors for contemporary-language liturgy, although congre­gational settings of the Creed have been composed. In the Roman Catholic Church, we understand, the Creed is still sung by congre­gations, but mainly at Latin masses, e.g. to Missa de Angelis. Editor


Your questions


Did God really abandon Jesus on the cross as many worship songs and sermons assert, mainly, it seems, on the basis of Mark 15.34 and Mat­thew 27.46? Many commentators point to Psalm 22.24, and to Habakkuk 1.13. Is the activity of the Father in our re­­demp­tion being mis­represented? [Answers, 24 February]


The simplest way to ascertain whether “the Father turned his face away” from Jesus on the Cross, assumed from Jesus’s cry of Psalm 22.1, is to read Psalm 22.24, which says: “For he did not despise or abhor the affliction of the afflicted; he did not hide his face from me, but heard when I cried to him” (NRSV).

Jewish practice in the Mishnah and Talmud is to quote the first line, and that is taken to imply the rest of the passage. Perhaps Jesus was do­­ing the same?

This theology does violence to the union of humanity and divinity, moves away from orthodox under­­standings of the hypostatic union, was resisted in the Early Church as leading to Christological heresy,
and is spurned by the Orthodox Churches.

The only way it seems to me to make sense as imagery (not biblical imagery) is to say that God turns away in sadness and pain at the hideous violence happening on the Cross. But in Reformed Protest­antism that view is probably less likely to be the one assumed or intended.

(The Revd) Marc Cooper

Fishtoft, Lincolnshire


What preparations are being made to mark the centenary of the En­­abling Act of 1919? Will there be a celebration of the contribution of C of E lay people and the advantages of synodical govern­ment over parliamentary micro-management? Or will the carpers (because the sys­tem doesn’t deliver all that they want as soon as they want it) pre­vent it?

A. M.


Do any UK churches yet have a “contactless” system for taking the collection? Should they? P. P.


Can someone identify the exact quota­tion for an Anglo-Catholic statement that England would not be converted until the Sacrament had been exposed on every altar?

A. P.


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