Reflection on the One, Holy Church
Christ calls his church to be one, holy church. Of all the things He could have prayed for us, He prayed for unity among His followers. He prayed for oneness, “so that the world may believe that [the Father has] sent me” (John 17:21). Our unity directly impacts how others view Jesus. As a church, we reflect Him to the world. If we valued unity within the church as much as Christ does, we would strive and sacrifice for unity.
In Revelation, we see the church pictured as Christ’s bride, the one He loves. Revelation 21:2 reads, “And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” John described the bride as, “having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal” (Revelation 21:11). One day the church will be the pure and holy bride of Christ. Until then, we are to strive for holiness and unity.
Reflection on the Universal and Apostolic Church
The church is comprised of everyone who is a true believer, all over the world, throughout all time. While we each belong to local churches in our communities, we are all brothers and sisters in Christ. Jesus alone is the head of the universal church.
In light of this, how should we view and interact with a church that has traditions that are very different from our own? We should respect and learn from them. God designed the church to have local gatherings in many different cultures. This diversity brings God more glory. God has called every tribe and nation to worship Him (Revelation 14:6).
The universal church glorifies God with diversity in traditions, but we’re unified in our essential beliefs as handed down from the apostles and recorded in the New Testament. For all of the differences between various Christian traditions and denominations, we share the major things in common. The Nicene Creed outlines these beliefs. We all believe in the Trinity, that Jesus is fully God and fully man, that and we are saved by grace through faith. Because we share these essential beliefs, we can have unity as a church.
Reflection on the Baptism of the Holy Spirit
Before He ascended, Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit. He said to His followers that He would “be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you” (John 14:16–17). If you are a believer in Christ, the Holy Spirit lives in you as assurance of your salvation.
The Nicene Creed calls the whole church to unity and holiness. We’re called to hold to the apostles’ teachings and to remember our brothers and sisters around the world. Jesus sent the Holy Spirit making us new creations. He lives in us and empowers us to follow Christ. With the Spirit’s power, let us honor Christ in unity and holiness.