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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