Hear our voice, O Lord, according to your faithful love.
Ivan Marchuk, "Boats overgrown with flowers", 1981.
John Rutter. "Christ Our Emmanuel". Premiere performance. Chamber Choir of Europe, cond. Nicol Matt. Festival of European Church Music, Schwäbisch Gm¨nd, 2019.
from: Karl Barth. Credo. Translated by J. Strahearn McNab. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1964. First published 1936. Chapter 1, edited by Brian McKinlay, 2023.
“We believe” at the head of the Creed means ﬁrst of all quite simply the act of recognition—in the shape of deﬁnite cognitions won from God’s revelation—of the reality of God in its bearing upon humanity. Faith therefore is a decision—the exclusion of unbelief in, the overcoming of opposition to, this reality, the affirmation of its existence and validity. Humanity believes. And therefore: we make this decision, credo.
But what gives faith its seriousness and power is not that we make a decision, nor even the way in which we make it, our feelings, the movement of our wills, the existential emotion generated. On the contrary, faith lives by its object. It lives by the call to which it responds. It lives by that, because and in so far as that is the call of God: “I believe in God . . . and in Jesus Christ . . . and in the Holy Spirit.”
The seriousness and the power of faith are the seriousness and power of the truth, which is identical with God himself, and which the believer has heard and received in the form of deﬁnite truths, in the form of articles of faith. And even the disclosure of this truth is a free gift that positively comes to meet the believer. It is God’s own revelation. In believing, we obey by our decision the decision of God. . . .
The problem of the “We believe” as the church confession arises in the problem of the church’s proclamation. The good news of the reality of God as it affects humanity is entrusted to the church. That is, entrusted to its faith. This, however, means among other things—entrusted to the work of its faith which is from the beginning tentative and fallible, entrusted to the human, the all too human, understanding and misunderstanding of the divine judgment, entrusted to the conﬂict and contradiction of human opinions and convictions.
May God our Redeemer show us compassion and love. Amen.