We Believe...: A service based on the Nicene Creed

The Sunday after Pentecost is often called Trinity Sunday in recognition that all three persons of the Trinity have now been remembered and celebrated in the great festivals of the Christian year. From now until Advent, we enter the long "Ordinary Time" or "Trinity Season" as some churches call it.

Easter comes early in 1997, and so Pentecost also comes early, on May 18. Churches may wish to celebrate Trinity Sunday at the regular time the following Sunday (also Memorial Day weekend in the United States) or perhaps on the evening of Pentecost with this service using the Nicene Creed. This creed was born out of struggle and controversy on the nature of Christ and the doctrine of the Trinity.

Note: This service was developed with the Calvin Seminary Choir for the Dearborn (Michigan) Christian Reformed Church in the spring of 1995. The service proceeded without announcement.


Prelude: "Jesus, Priceless Treasure" Pachelbel

Choral Call to Worship: "Lead Me, Lord" Samuel S. Wesley


Hymn of Praise: "All Creatures of Our God and King"
PsH 431, PH 455, RL 4, SFL 86, TH 115

choir only on stanza 4

We Believe ... in God the Father

Confession of Faith

We believe in one God,
the Father almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
and of all things visible and invisible

Hymn: "Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise" PsH 460, PH 263, RL 7, TH 38

stanza 2: women and girls
stanza 3: men and boys

Two Native American Hymns [sung by the choir]

"Many and Great" PH 271, SFL 94
"Heleluyan" (Praise the Lord!) PH 595, SFL 93

We Believe ... in God the Son

Confession of Faith

We believe in one Lord Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
begotten from the Father before all ages,
God from God,
Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made;
of the same essence as the Father.
Through him all things were made.

Hymn: "Beautiful Savior" PsH 461

stanza 1: choir only (unaccompanied)
stanzas 2-4: all

Confession of Faith

For us and our salvation
he came down from heaven,
he became incarnate by the Holy Spirit and the
virgin Mary,
and was made human.
He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered and was buried.

Anthem: "Surely He Hath Borne Our Griefs" (text from Isaiah 53:4) Antonio Lotti

Prayer of Confession

from Psalm 51 (see box), with refrain sung first by the choir and then by all.

Assurance of Pardon: "Cast Thy Burden upon the LOrd" Medelssohn, from Elijah [SUng by the Choir]

Response of Thanksgiving: "Christ, the Life of All the Living" PsH 371

[organ meditation on stanza 2, J. S. Bach; organists can find settings under the tune name ALEE MENSCHEN MUSSEN STERBEN]


Choral Offertory: "I Want Jesus to Walk with Me" PH 363, SFL 214, TH 611



Hymn of Response: "Jesus, Priceless Treasure" PsH 572, PH 365, RL 448, TH 656

Confession of Faith

We believe in one Lord Jesus Christ....
The third day he rose again, according to the
He ascended to heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again with glory
to judge both the living and the dead.
His kingdom will never end.

Response of Praise and Thanksgiving

"He Is Lord" PsH 633, SFL 178
"To God Be the Glory" PsH 632

[Both these texts were printed in the bulletin (with CCLI licence numbers in small print) so the congregation could break into song immediately after the confession with no introduction except one note to give the pitch; the songs were sung back-to-back.]

We Believe ... in the Holy Spirit

Confession of Faith

And we believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Lord, the giver of life.
He proceeds from the Father and the Son,
and with the Father and the Son is worshiped
and glorified.
He spoke through the prophets.

Prayers of Intercession

Preparation for prayer: Romans 8:26-27

Choral Prayer: "Gracious Spirit, Dwell with Me" arr. K. Lee Scott

Spoken prayer (concluding with "Father, I Adore You" sung as a round)

Confession of Faith:

We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic church.
We affirm one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look forward to the resurrection of the dead, and to life in the world to come. Amen.

Closing Hymn: "Soon and Very Soon" SHL 194


Postlude : Improvisation on "Soon and Very Soon"


Psalm 51

Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my wrong-doing.
Wash away all my offenses
and cleanse me from my sin. Refrain

Surely I was sinful at birth,
sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
Surely you desire truth in my heart;
you teach wisdom deep within me. Refrain

Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a faithful spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and give me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Refrain

O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings;
but the sacrifice of a broken and humble spirit,
O God, you will not despise. Refrain

Emily R. Brink (embrink@calvin.edu) is Senior Research Fellow for the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship and former editor of Reformed Worship.


Reformed Worship 43 © March 1997, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. Used by permission.