We believe in the one and only God, Eternal Trinity, from whom, through whom and for whom all created things exist.
Deuteronomy 6: 4-9
Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise. Bind them as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem on your forehead, and write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
We believe in the one and only God. In one translation, Deuteronomy 6:4 reads, ‘The Lord our God, the Lord is one.’ The writer exhorts us to remember these words, to recite them to our children, and talk about them. Make these words part of you. This is what a statement of faith is like, or what it could be. It’s not so much about proposition or philosophy, but worship and praise. This is the language not only of theology, but of doxology – words to sing and shout and hold onto in prayer with all your might. The voice that calls to us from Deuteronomy asks us to take some words and make them our praise of God. The words that we call our Statement of Faith in the United Reformed Church deserve the same. We all have times in our life when we need to know exactly where we stand, not so that we can pass a scripture test, but so we can say with confidence who God is and give God praise.
It is wonderful that our statement of faith begins, ‘We believe in the one and only God’. It has a theological weight that places us in the great tradition in which Jesus stood, that there are not many gods but one God. But it’s hard to say that phrase ‘one and only’ without raising a cheer or a hand in praise or beginning to sing. This is more than correct doctrine or a ticking the box monotheism – this is praise! We worship, we believe in, we trust in ‘the one and only’ God.
I once went to Sunday worship in a monastery in Romania. The priests did most of the singing and speaking. But the people in the congregation said the Creed; and they didn’t mumble, but shouted it – they said it like they meant it, as praise. The one and only God be praised!
O God, the one and only God, Holy and Eternal Trinity, from whom, through whom and for whom all created things exist, we give you praise for it is our purpose and our joy. We give you glory as we celebrate your unique beauty and your gracious presence in all creation. May we live this day in praise, knowing our origins in your love, our source in your creating and our destiny as your children. Amen.
The Rev’d Dr Susan Durber is minister of Taunton URC and Moderator of the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches