All good things must come to an end. In this, my final reflection on the Apostles’ Creed, we wonder about this last section, which addresses the third person of the Trinity – the Holy Spirit. Or does it? The Holy Spirit seems to be mentioned only in passing, then we move on to some seemingly unrelated pieces tacked on to the end. Or is it?!?!?! We will see!
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
What sort of God do I believe in, do I trust? The word for ‘spirit’ in Hebrew, the ruach of God, is feminine. And so, for me, the Holy Spirit is an important reminder that in all genders, all parts of humanity, the image of God can be found reflected (Genesis 1:27)
The holy catholic Church, the communion of saints,
The word ‘catholic’ just means universal. We are part of something bigger than just ourselves or just St. John’s, a universal body, a communion – a community – of saints. We are not alone. This is the Spirit’s work, I think, moving, energizing, and connecting God’s great family through time and space.
The resurrection of the body,
Is there a bodily resurrection? Some Christians believe so, literally. Others do not. If you do, that’s OK. If you don’t, that’s also OK. This statement has been a challenge for my ‘rational,’ ‘scientific’ mind at times. However, as I have mulled over and prayed with the creed over the years, I have found something more important for me in these 5 words. Our bodies matter. Our bodies are good. Our bodies are part of God’s work in the world. This is important because Christians have had a bad habit of vilifying the physical, especially the body – the “flesh,” but we don’t need to. Our bodies are beautiful, good, holy, and part of God’s plan for us. You may have noticed that at this point in the creed I make the sign of the cross over myself in our service. This is a part of my own practice, a blessing, a sign of love – mine and God’s – for the gift of this collection of cells, organs and tissues that is me.
And the life everlasting.
I do not know what happens after death, but followers of Jesus have shared that Christian hope since the beginning, that there is nothing that can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:38). When I say this, that’s what I think of, that the love and care that God has for us will never end – the Spirit will never stop pursuing us. It is a hope I rest in.
I think that is all I have to say about the Apostles’ Creed! Thank you for sticking with me over the past weeks. It has been a gift for me to spend a little time with this thing that I have prayed so often. I hope there was gift in it for you as well.
Thank you, and thanks be to God!