Wednesday, 15 June 2011

I believe in the holy catholic Church

In most of our services on a Sunday morning at St Paul's, the congregation shares in saying a "creed" or an affirmation of faith. This frequently includes the words: "I believe in the holy catholic Church." In this sense the creed is not referring specifically to the Roman Catholic Church but using the word catholic in the sense of universal – the universal Church – the church worldwide.

I was recently on holiday in Hong Kong and as I was worshipping in church on Sunday, it was wonderful to see this phrase as a reality. In the congregation there were Christians from China, Britain, Korea, South Africa, America and many other countries, all praising God together. It was a reminder of the verse in the book of Revelation "by (Christ's) blood you ransomed for God saints from every tribe and language and people and nation" (Revelation 5:9). There in Hong Kong, worshipping with those of such different backgrounds, it was good to join in that unity.

Here at St Paul's we are privileged to have some such diversity. Apart from those of British background, there are those originally from India, Singapore and Nigeria (and probably others). It is important that we remember that Christ died for all. We believe in the holy catholic Church.