April 19, 2018
(Click here to view the PDF of the April 19 Newsletter)
From the Pen of the Senior Associate Pastor…
At Covenant Presbyterian Church, we regularly, corporately, and publicly declare that the communion of the saints is a fundamental truth we hold (cf. Apostles’ Creed). What do we mean by these words?
Well, saints are those believers from all ages who have been set apart and consecrated to God through the sacrificial death of Christ. Especially in the New Testament, saints are synonymous with the people of God, the church. Its Old Testament antecedent implies the idea of being separated for and devoted to God as well as conformity to God’s likeness through the indwelling work of the Holy Spirit. The making of saints is purely of God, and is not just those viewed to have lived exemplary lives and performed special feats. Saints are ordinary brothers and sisters in Christ by God’s extraordinary saving grace.
How should we view communion? Perhaps a good way to speak of the word communion is by looking at another word(s)…koine. Koine Greek was the language of the era in which Jesus lived. It was common Greek. Attic Greek was the high Greek, the Greek of Plato, Aristotle, and the great Athenian playwrights. Koine was down-home. It was the dialect of the market place and the shared language of the common folk. The word koine means that which is shared, familiar. Koininia, a word that comes from koine, has the meaning of communion, fellowship, partnership, and relationship. It too has the root idea of sharing or holding something(s) in common. So, when we confess the communion of the saints, what we’re stating is a conviction that those people, who have been called into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ, uniquely have in common a fellowship, partnership, and relationship.
What do we have in common? Primarily, we are united in Christ and share in the amazing graces, the very real suffering, the once and for all death, the powerful resurrection, and the yet to be revealed glory of our Redeemer King. This is the staggering vertical dimension of our being united to the Son. And, secondarily, we share in the love of our brothers and sisters in Christ. We participate in each other’s gifts and graces. We are concerned for the mutual well-being of each member in the family of faith. This is the comforting and obligatory horizontal dimension of being united to the Son…and to all who belong to Christ.
In the past several challenging weeks, we have seen demonstration after demonstration of this previous truth. The CPC community has surrounded our brothers and sisters who have suffered lost. We have in real ways shared in their pain and sorrow. We have practically supported and sought in every way to meet needs. In heart-felt ways, the Lord has used so many to send His solace and strength. What an encouraging thing to witness!
Oh that we would never lose the richness and requirements of such a phrase because of our familiarity with it.
May I encourage you in one other way? The congregation is encouraged to supply the financial resources for the ministry of mercy conducted by our deacons through giving to the Diaconate Fund on the stated observances of the Lord’s Supper.
This is yet another way that we demonstrate our belief in the communion of the saints, an aspect of the spiritual significance of the sacrament, as these funds are used primarily to assist CPC family members. The funds, also, may be used for those outside CPC’s membership. Diaconate Fund gifts are offerings in that they exceed the tithe and are outside of the church’s budget.