Summary: Sermon on beginning of Third Article of Apostles' Creed: "I believe in...the Holy Christian Church, the Communion of Saints."
About this time last year the world was gearing up for the Summer Olympics in London. We were eager to find out if Usain Bolt would win another gold medal when he ran the 100m dash. He did. Bolt is an incredible athlete but he doesn’t strike me as a team player. Then again you don’t need to be a team player if you’re running the 100m. That’s an individual event. Wouldn’t it be fun if they made the 100m dash into a team event? I’m not thinking of a relay. We already have the 4x100m race where sprinters take turns running around the track. I’m talking about having the sprinters from the same team run at the same time - like in a three-legged race you might see at a picnic. How would Bolt do tethered to one of his teammates? Would he be able to shorten his long stride so that the two could sprint in tandem down the track, or would he simply try to drag his companion to the finish line?
I’m using this imagery (as I did in the children’s devotion) to help us see what it means to confess in the Apostles’ Creed: “I believe in the Holy Christian Church, the Communion of Saints.” What we’re saying with those words is I believe that no Christian is an island. I believe that we are one people, connected by one bond, with one goal. If we truly believe this, and I hope we do, it will affect the way that we treat one another. As we continue to work at guarding the good deposit of Christian teaching as outlined in the Apostles’ Creed, we’ll see how the congregation in Corinth needed to be reminded that they were one people, with one bond, and one goal. Let’s see how the Apostle Paul’s words to them can serve as words of encouragement to us.
Paul spent 18 months serving the congregation in the Greek city of Corinth. After he moved on, problems developed in this diverse congregation. Some members claimed to be followers of Paul while others preferred their new pastor, Apollos. Still others stated that Peter was their man, while another group tut tut-ed everyone else’s claim by saying they followed Christ. When Paul found out about these attitudes spreading through the congregation like spidering cracks on a frozen pond, he wrote these urgent words: “I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought…Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into the name of Paul?” (1 Corinthians 1:10, 13)
One of the most beautiful truths about the Christian Church is that although people from all walks of life from teachers to mechanics, and people of all income levels from Lexus owners to Dodge Caravan drivers, and people of all cultures from Caribbean to Canadian are members of the Christian Church, we are one people. It saddens God when cliques develop within the church as much as it saddens parents when their children can’t get along.