Believing in the Church

Henri Nouwen, in his Bread for the Journey:  Daybook of Wisdom and Faith, the reading for October 18, has challenged me once again:

The Church is an object of faith. In the Apostles’ Creed we pray, “I believe in God, the Father . . . in Jesus Christ, his only Son . . . in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting.” We must believe in the Church! The Apostles’ Creed does not say that the Church is an organization that helps us to believe in God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. No, we are called to believe in the Church with the same faith we believe in God.

Often it seems harder to believe in the Church than to believe in God. But whenever we separate our belief in God from our belief in the Church, we become unbelievers. God has given us the Church as the place where God becomes God-with-us.

I’ve never thought of it this way, the Church as an object of faith. Or, that, by consequence, the job of the church is not to help make us believe, at least not in the first instance.

2 thoughts on “Believing in the Church

  1. Interesting. This may sound a bit sacrilegious, but I have sometimes found it easier to believe in the Church than to believe in God – I guess because the Church, for all its human failings, is so visible and tangible. In that sense, I find that the Church does help me to believe, precisely because it is itself an object of faith: I can believe in God because I believe in the Church.

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