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I believe in apostolic church

Jesus and apostles feed the crowd

We are going through the four marks of the church: one, holy, catholic, apostolic. In this post we are looking at the fourth mark: apostolic.

I tire of the image of God as a little man in the sky controlling the weather.

One metaphor for God I appreciate is God as the music of the universe, the music of reality. The music of the universe is love and beauty and justice and truth. And when you do those things, when you love; or appreciate beauty and are creative and increase the amount of beauty; or advocate and work for justice; or study and understand things a bit more – when you do these things your life is in tune with the music of the universe, of reality; you are living in harmony with the one we call God. Using another metaphor – you are doing the will of God.

Apostle is a Greek word (ἀπόστολος) – two Greek words glued together (apo, “from,” stello, “to send”) – meaning “send from”. Jesus sent apostles – to share, to pass on his life and message. We receive Christ’s life and message and pass it on. You and I are apostles. We are apostolic.

People often discuss the “mission of God’s church”. There are meetings about, and mission statements drafted to define, “what is the mission of God’s church?” But I think, like the metaphors for God, the ideas around church can be looked at differently.

Rather than thinking primarily that the church of God has a mission, I prefer to think that the mission of God has a church.

God has a mission in the universe. God is the music of love and beauty and justice and truth. And the church is apostolic when it helps with God’s mission.

Now with music, there are people who sing and play in tune – and they may not even notice they are doing so. There are others who are experts on the theory – but they are just hopeless at being in harmony, and they ruin anything where they are present and playing.

Some people deny there is a God, say there is no tune, but their lives are actually in tune, in harmony with the tune, with the God they say isn’t there. And others just talk and talk and talk about God, the tune, but their lives are totally out of harmony, in fact their talking distracts from the music and stops some people from even hearing it.

The mission of God has an apostolic church. The mission of God has other ways to fulfil God’s purpose in the universe as well.

Let me finish this post by switching metaphor yet again with a famous statement:

Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Christ has no body now but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
compassion on this world.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.

This is the twenty-ninth post in a series on the Creed.

The first is Apostles’ Creed.
The second is I believe in God.
The third is a source of the Apostles’ Creed.
The fourth is I believe in the Father.
The fifth is Handing over the Creed.
The sixth is I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son
The seventh is Don’t use the creed in worship
They eighth is Truly God truly human
The ninth is Conceived by the Holy Spirit
The tenth is Don’t use the creed in worship (part 2)
The eleventh is Born of the Virgin Mary
The twelfth is Don’t use the creed in worship (part 3)
The thirteenth is Crucified under Pontius Pilate
The fourteenth is crucified
The fifteenth is Holy Saturday
This sixteenth is He descended to the dead
The seventeenth is on the third day he rose again
The eighteenth is Seated at the right hand of the Father
The nineteenth is Judge the living and the dead
The twentieth is I believe in the Holy Spirit
The twenty-first is But Wait, There’s More!
The twenty-second is And the Son
The twenty-third is Filioque
The twenty-fourth is Two hands of God
The twenty-fifth is Don’t believe in the Church
The twenty-sixth is I believe one Church
The twenty-seventh is I believe in holy church
The twenty-eighth is I believe in catholic church

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6 Responses to I believe in apostolic church

  1. And the truth is that you must try and sing anyway to bring forth that harmony. To tune into that higher love that brings on the changes that you so need and want in your life. The beauty comes from the act of worship in a world that often is unjust. So sing a song of praise and let that joy overflow in your heart and soul. That miracle that you are praying for then becomes a long awaited fulfilled promise from God. Your purpose becomes your mission.

  2. I recently posted a quotation by Wittgenstein questioning the role of Paul. And I can sense quite frequently the validity of what he wrote. Then we are faced with the quotation you used above, And the significance of Paul stands clear before us, We so often categorize people into one role and into their complex.

  3. I love the fact, dear Bosco, that probably the first Apostle, sent by Jesus after His Resurrection to tell the other (male) apostles about it, was a WOMAN – no less! And the men had problems believing that she knew about this before they did.

    There are still people in the Church, both male and female, who cannot believe in female apostles – and female priests and bishops!

  4. Sorry Bosco, it doesn’t matter what image you use – it’s still less of an ask to believe in the Tooth Fairy or the Easter Bunny than to believe, against all the contrary evidence, in the one holy catholic and apostolic church.

  5. ‘[T]he mission of god has a church’ – I love that! Some of my friends are so anxious about the fate of the world, thinking that the church is the only way that people can find God and if we don’t ‘do a good job of mission’… – what a burden. I think Jesus said his yoke was light. You are right I think, God’s mission has so many ways to be fulfilled, not just through the church.
    As for the music metaphor, it’s one of my favourites too. And there are plenty of churchy people who know a lot about the music (God) theory but sing out of tune. Mea culpa. Need to spend more time ‘tuning in’ with God. I feel so much more in tune when I’ve had my walk by the sea with the dogs.

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About This Site Welcome to this ecumenical website of resources and reflections on liturgy, spirituality, and worship for individuals and communities. It is run by Rev. Bosco Peters.

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