I believe in . . . the communion of the saints.
This line, towards the end of the great and ancient statement of faith known as the Apostles’ Creed, sounds pretty spiritual. A phrase like the communion of the saints doesn’t come from the street, the office, or the shopping mall. It’s the kind of thing you only hear in church. So what does it mean? Look at it piece by piece.
Communion is one of the great words of the New Testament, the ancient Greek word koinonia. That word has the idea of association, communion, fellowship, giving, and participation; it means to share in something. Christians share together the same Lord Jesus, we share the same guide for life, we share the same love for God, we share the same desire to worship Him, we share the same struggles, we share the same victories, we share the same job of living for Him, and we share the same joy of communicating that gospel to others. The real Christian life is always lived in community, and when a follower of Jesus doesn’t value the communion of the saints, it shows something isn’t right.
The word saints is another great one from the pages of the New Testament. In the New Testament idea, saints are not a few dead, elite, super-Christians. Instead, the title saint is given to every true follower of Jesus Christ. The ancient word means holy one or separated one, and part of being a follower of Jesus is being separated away from things of this world, and separated unto Jesus. The idea is of someone who is different from the world around them because of Jesus Christ. If you are a Christian then you are different – you just have to live out that difference.
We really all can be saints. Look at what Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 1:2: “To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours.” (Click here for more on that passage) Everyone who comes to Jesus and follows Him today can be part of this group of saints.
Therefore, we should go out and live like saints. It doesn’t mean perfection, but it does mean showing Jesus. Think of an old cathedral with beautiful stained-glass windows displaying great saints of former days. Even as the light streams through the stained-glass pictures of saints, saints are people through whom the light of God shines. If we turn our face towards His light today, we can let it shine through us.