Jim Wilson is the retired director of Community Christian Ministries in Moscow, Idaho. He will be posting regularly, so check back in soon!

Monday, October 20, 2014

When You Mean It

When I was a young man I had an emotional reaction to the Apostles Creed recited in churches. It was not because I did not believe it, because I did, and do believe it. On the contrary, that’s why I did not like to hear it. It was recited by rote and mumbled by people I assumed did not believe it, or if they did believe it they did not seem to care if they believed it.

Then one Sunday fifty some years ago I happened to be in the Presbyterian Church of the Covenant in Bala Cynwood, Pennsylvania on a Sunday morning. The congregation stood and shouted out:

“I BELIEVE IN GOD THE FATHER ALMIGHTY, MAKER OF HEAVEN AND EARTH: AND IN JESUS CHRIST HIS ONLY SON, OUR LORD; WHO WAS CONCEIVED BY THE HOLY GHOST, BORN OF THE VIRGIN MARY, SUFFERED UNDER PONTIUS PILATE, WAS CRUCIFIED, DEAD, AND BURIED; HE DESCENDED INTO HELL; THE THIRD DAY HE ROSE AGAIN FROM THE DEAD; HE ASCENDED INTO HEAVEN, AND SITTETH ON THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD THE FATHER ALMIGHTY; FROM THENCE HE SHALL COME TO JUDGE THE QUICK AND THE DEAD. I BELIEVE IN THE HOLY GHOST; THE HOLY CATHOLIC CHURCH; THE COMMUNION OF SAINTS; THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS; THE RESURRECTION OF THE BODY; AND THE LIFE EVERLASTING. AMEN.”

I still remember it. The same can happen with hymns. By asking questions I found why young people did not like hymns. They grew up in a church where they were sung like they were at a funeral.

More liars stand behind hymnals than any other place and they do not lie with conviction. At Bessie’s memorial service, four years ago, we sang many hymns an hour before the service started. It was a time of joy!

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