When the Christianity Richly blog was launched in 2009, several posts described my reasons for entering “the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.”¹ If you’ve read the About link (located beneath the large, red Christianity Richly masthead at the top) you’ll know my journey was based on certainty, history, unity, authority, and liturgy.
Over the years since entering the Church, an important sixth reason has become clear: community. The Apostles Creed concludes
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.
Not surprisingly, the communion of saints is viewed differently by Christians who protest that “the holy catholic Church” simply means the invisible body of true Christians, the members of which are known only to God.² But even while holding that position, protestant assemblies sometimes encourage members to “greet the saints around you.” Ah, now we are getting closer to the truth!
While authority remains first among the reasons for becoming a Catholic Christian, the importance of the communion of saints was always apparent. A simple example: from the first time I knelt beside strangers in a Catholic Church, it became clear—from this very unaccustomed posture—that a greater consciousness of the needs of others, and their devotion to God, resulted. No longer was I surrounded by seemingly self-sufficient, individualistic Christians, relaxing with their legs and arms crossed, in the pews. The sense of community that comes from kneeling with others to worship God was (and is) powerful.
Yet this example only scratches the surface of what the communion of saints is, a reality that is is vitally important to understand. In the posts that follow, perhaps together we can begin to grasp the importance of the communion of saints to our daily lives—yours and mine. I encourage to read on, Community Part 2, Community Part 3, Community Part 4, and even A Day for Community.
¹ See this article about what are called “the four marks of the Church” (one, holy, catholic, and apostolic). For it is in community that we find Christianity Richly.