Monday, April 13, 2015

Thoughts on the holy catholic and apostolic Church::April 13

I read this today, and it made my heart happy:
From "Forward Day by Day"
Monday, April 13, 2015
John 17:11 {Jesus said}, "Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one."

There aren't enough stories about the risen Christ's appearances to take us through the whole season of Easter. So today's reading puts us back with Jesus and his disciples on the night before his death. He is praying that they may be one.

I recently attended a Reception of Holy Orders liturgy. That is what the service is called when a priest is received fro another branch of the Church. A friend and colleague of mine, a Roman Catholic priest, was becoming an Episcopal priest.

Along with the bishop and the Episcopal congregation, the Roman Catholic friends and family participated in the service. Although we were marking his departure from the Roman church, there was not a feeling of severance or division, but instead an awareness of how much we have in common. It was a celebration for the Spirit that binds us all.

I wonder if Jesus is sad, seeing the Church today, divided into countless denominations and groups, often with conflicting agendas. Certainly he would rejoice it its diversity and different expressions. But, sadly, we too often focus on our differences rather than our similarities.

I love the fact that his transition was celebrated by his friends and family in both churches. One thing that I appreciate very much in the Nicene Creed is the statement that "We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church."

My dad sent me a program/outline from his Non-denominational church, and it clarifies what the creed is saying,
"The word 'catholic' used in the creed means universal, not to be confused with the Roman Catholic church headquartered in Rome, Italy."

The same program/outline says that his church believes in Unity:
"One of our foundational tenets is unity in the Body of Christ (the church). It is our firm belief that all who faithfully follow Jesus Christ are brothers and sisters in Him. We do not believe in denominational boundaries and we reach out our hand in friendship to all who walk in the way of Jesus."

I think that is a concise way to tell how the Body of Christ, or the holy catholic church, should behave ourselves; it is something that I wholeheartedly agree with.
♥ Melody

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