In our Sunday School (aka “Catechism”) Service, we are working through the basic doctrines of the Christian faith. These doctrines are derived from the Bible and organized for us in the Heidelberg Catechism. When this catechism was written, it was divided into 52 sections, in order that ministers could teach it to their congregations throughout the year, ensuring that everyone was reminded and instructed in the basics of the faith.
When the Heidelberg explains the gospel, it doesn’t invent anything new but uses the most ancient summary of the gospel – The Apostles’ Creed. What follows is a prayer from Cyprian of Carthage (3rd c.), which he gave prior to giving his own message on the phrase “I believe in the Holy Spirit.” We’ll be considering this phrase on Sunday, November 10, 2013.
Come, Holy Spirit, and descend from heaven upon us, who are looking up for your benign influence. Sanctify the temple of our body, and consecrate it for a habitation to yourself; gladden, by your presence, the souls that are longing for you. Prepare a suitable abode for yourself; adorn your chamber, and surround the place of your rest with a sweet variety of virtues. Cover your walls with fair colors; let your residence be beautified with gems, and splendid jewels; and let the perfumes of all your graces diffuse their fragrance within. Let the juice of balsam richly permeate your dwelling with its fragrance. Cast from it whatever is corrupt, whatever tends to waste or to defile; render this our joy stable and permanent; and let your new creation be confirmed forever in unfading beauty. [Modernized. From Herman Witsius, Sacred Dissertations on the Apostles’ Creed Vol. 2, (RHB: Grand Rapids, 2010), 303-304.]