Jesus initiated what Christians call communion at the Last Supper with his Twelve Disciples. (See Matthew 26:26-29.) Yet there is a broader definition of the word communion that also helps us understand this phrase in the Apostles Creed, and that is intimate fellowship between people, especially spiritual fellowship.
When the New Testament writers used the word “saints” they generally referred to the believers – those who had joined the body of Christ. Today Protestants see all committed believers as saints while Roman Catholic believers reserve the word Saint for Christians who have exceeded the norm in many ways including performing miracles. This is admittedly a weak explanation of the Roman Catholic view, and I invite my Catholic readers to clarify this in the comments below.
When we recite the phrase “I believe in … the communion of saints,” we are affirming the connections we have with all members of the body of Christ including those we have close physical fellowship as well as Christian believers around the world. This communion has spiritual bonds through Holy Communion with Christians everywhere–including past, present, and future–we are joined together as one through Jesus the Christ who is head over the body of Christ, the church. Read 1 Corinthians 12:12-27 for a deeper understanding of how all Christians are joined together into the body of Christ.
One of the wonderful things about being a Christian is that we can go any place in the world and find brothers and sisters; and you can share fellowship, even when separated by a language barrier.
As I listened to the song “One Bread One Body” below several things crossed my mind:
- Jesus first miracle was when he turned the water into wine.
- Jesus fed bread (and fish) to the multitudes.
- The followers who met Jesus on the road to Damascus recognized him when he broke bread with them.
Enjoy the song “One Bread One Body”