In both the Anglican and Catholic Mass, the Liturgy of the Word (aka reading the lessons), begins with Scripture, includes a Homily, and then concludes with the recitation of one of the Creeds. Following the Liturgy of the Word, the Prayers of the People begin. This seems fairly consistent across many of the liturgical traditions. This order also helps to de-emphasize the sermon, emphasizing instead the Eucharist as the highlight of the service.
But, as a old-Baptist, I have to admit, this kind of annoys me. :)
In a Baptist liturgy, the sermon does take a more central place. Furthermore, the crux of the service - the emphasized highlight so to speak - is typically that sequence in which the sermon concludes forcefully, the preacher gives an altar call, and then everybody sings a song while someone "comes forward" after having made "a decision." (Okay, number of times someone has actually come down the aisle after making a spontaneous decision - Negilible - but that's the theory at least.)
Anyways, what I've always liked about the Baptist model is that the "altar call & song" provides a space in which the congregation can meditate on the message, internalizing and applying what was said. Something about singing an old hymn that you know by heart (you don't introduce a new song in that slot!) somehow seems to provide more of a space for reflection to me than saying a creed.
Now, the prayers of the people can also also afford that space (since the LEM is reading) - but there's still that Creed that sticks out like a sore thumb to me. So naturally, I wonder, why not say the Creed before we read the Word.
It would seem to me that saying the Creed before the Lessons and the Homily would signal an agreement of some kind - that we believe this Truth, and are therefore ready to be instructed in the Word of the Lord.
The question is, am I opening up a theological can of worms in altering the order of the mass? Is there an unintentional theological statement that would be made in changing this? Would such a thing be allowed in a Catholic service? (Episcopalians wouldn't care, so I ask about the Catholics). In short - what effect would altering this order have on the theological construct of the order of worship?