Acts 4:32-35 1 John 1:1-2:2 John 20:19-31 Psalm 133

Each week, we follow the homily by repeating the words of the Nicene Creed. The Creed is a summary of what most Christians affirmed and still affirm about the core tenets of our faith.

This, in part, became a practice to hold up against whatever the minister might be preaching, to ensure that you could spot heresy or make sure that, no matter what, you were getting the core of Christian doctrine.

Recently, I walked through some of the foundations of our faith with some folks who are newer to the Episcopal tradition, and we did a whole session on the creeds. In truth, we could spend the rest of our lives unpacking the truths we attest to in our creed. But seeing as I would like for the rest of your life to extend beyond the few minutes I have to share with you this morning, I want to highlight a phrase that has to do specfically with the church (and of course, with our readings today).

We believe in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church.


Wow. What faith it takes to say that!

Some of you have confessed to me (in the non-sacramental sense…this is not sinful!) that you struggle with certain portions of the creed. Some struggle with, for example, the part that talks about the virgin birth. Or, if we are talking about the Apostles Creed, some have asked about what it means when it says Jesus descended not simply to the dead, but to hell. It is ok to struggle with belief, it is ok to struggle with portions of the creed. And if you don’t you probably have or you likely will at some point in your life. As we are encouraged by the story of St. Thomas, some of us need more time and different experiences or evidence in other forms on our own journey of faith.

But, seriously, we believe the church is one? holy? catholic? apostolic? Again…wow! This feels so idyllic, so, dare i say, naive. I mean, do you live in the world like I do?

We get a picture of a church like this is our first reading from Acts.

“one heart and soul, sharing their possessions, trusting leadership, appropriate use of charitable donations.”

For those of you with socialist sensibilities, this certainly appeals to you!

Ahhh…the church was fine and good.

Of course, until only a few verses later, it wasn’t. There was a story about people who withheld from the church and lied about it…it didn’t end well.


You see, when we confess that the church we believe in is one, is holy, is catholic (meaning universal and diverse), and apostolic (meaning connected to tradition and willing to take risks) this is truly a faith-filled confession. And we find ourselves, much like Thomas, asking to see the proof.


If you’ve ever been disillusioned by church, you are in good company. Here and with Thomas.


And, while these words are certainly aspirational, they are also true.

(examples here) You have been sharing your goods with one another. Helping in family moves and downsizing, donating items to support those who work in our parish, finding places for items to go where they can help others, helping community members in crisis, supporting one another through illness and surgeries and recovery. Being present to and with one another.


How has God made St. Peter’s to be one, holy, catholic, and apostolic?


And how is god inviting us deeper into that reality?


That is THE question we are holding and asking as a church right now in our work together (Vitality Improvement)

You see, the church is vital…and she could be ever more so.

That is what is means to live from the truth of resurrection (which is what we confess first, before we ever talk about church).


I want to hear from you on this. Some of our team members may be meeting with you one on one to ask about this. We are trying to discover and name together how St. Peter’s is and is becoming one, holy, catholic, and apostolic.

How is God making us one? Where are we finding agreement and a common sense of identity?

How is God making us more holy? (changing and growing us, inviting us into service)

How is God making us catholic (ecumenical connections, diversity, etc.)

How is God making us apostolic (tradition, what new thing? What is God asking us to “lay at the feet” of our leadership in trust, so that our neighbors can flourish and there can be needs met?)