The Spirituality of Worship

Rev. Jim McKinney continues with an explanation of why we do what we do in Church….

Bowing our Heads during the Creed

The Creed is the summary of the Christian faith accepted by all the major churches. It sets out what we believe about God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and it refers to the central mysteries of what Christianity is all about.

But we don’t just do this in words. The Creed is all about embracing what we believe. We may not understand it all, but we commit ourselves to it. As a sign of our commitment, we use our bodies as well. At the very centre of the Creed, we say the words, ‘he came down from heaven, was incarnate from the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary and was made man.’  These words are an amalgam of what St Paul was referring to above and the story of the Archangel Gabriel coming to St Mary and asking that she should bear the Christ child as her son. All God’s plans for us hinged on this moment. Mary could have said ‘No!’ But she didn’t. She said ‘Yes!’ Everything that God intended hung on Mary’s response. A young girl held the salvation of the world in her hands.

This was the crucial moment for all of us. In memory of, and in awe of, God’s graciousness and Mary’s own faith, we begin to bow at the words, ‘he came down to us’ and we continue to bow until we reach the words, ‘and was made man.’ Our bowing is an act of thanksgiving and awe, a wordless prayer self-giving before the grace of God and Mary’s faith in him.

In addition, there is one time in the Creed when we hear Jesus’ name (and at other times in the service). Here we take up St Paul’s injunction that ‘at the name of Jesus every knee should bow’. We bow our heads in recognition of this call for response and obedience.

The Peace

The Peace is a modern development which has its origins in the Church of South India after the Second World War. It was felt that with all the talk of love and fellowship that goes on in the service, there was little that indicated the breaking down of barriers between people at the service. Yes we see the barriers between ourselves and God coming down, but not between ourselves. It was felt that we should take time out during the service to break down some of those barriers.

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