In the three ecumenical creeds of the church Christians confess their belief in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church and the communion of saints. As the Day of Pentecost
draws closer on the 8th of June it would be worthwhile for us to let our minds dwell on this article of the creeds and the truth it expresses.
The third article of the creeds gathers up nicely the event of Pentecost and its meaning for us. On the Day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit descended on the gathered disciples and the church was born. Holy Spirit, church and communion of saints are inseparable. It is in this matrix that the assembled people of God truly experience church. Without the Holy Spirit the assembly is just a gathering of people engaged in human activity and not truly church. Without the communion of saints the assembly is just a gathering of individuals and not truly a community gathered around the means of Grace.
Belief in the Holy Spirit and communion of saints are essential elements in the church being church. In the absence of any of these the church’s ability to live out its identity and fulfill its purpose would be seriously compromised. The identity of the church is in being the people of God called out and gathered by the Holy Spirit. Its purpose is to be God’s mission in the world. Each time we confess our faith as expressed in the words of the third article of the ecumenical creeds of the church, we are powerfully reminded of who we are called to be and what we care called to do. This can be done rightly when as church we live in the Holy Spirit and we live as the communion of saints.
Pentecost, with its celebration of the coming of the Holy Spirit, the birth of the church and the gathered disciples is an opportune reminder of what we mean when we say; “we are the church.” We are a community of God’s people called and gathered into one around the means of Grace by the Holy Spirit.