Tuesday, November 30, 2010
The Feast of St. Andrew
"The Martyrdom of Saint Andrew" by Charles Le Brun, 1646-47, The Getty Museum
Today, January 30 is the day the holy Christian church celebrates God's gift of the life and martyrdom St. Andrew. He was the brother of Simon Peter, and originally a disciple of John the Baptist until he "found the Messiah."
"The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, 'Behold, the Lamb of God!' The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, 'What are you seeking?' And they said to him,(BK) "Rabbi" (which means Teacher), "where are you staying?" He said to them, 'Come and you will see.' So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour. One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, 'We have found the Messiah' (which means Christ). He brought him to Jesus." -- The holy Gospel for the Feast of St. Andrew, Apostle, John 1: 35-42a
From St. Andrew we learn at least four things:
1) A disciple's, i.e. a believer's, finding of the Messiah is really a matter of the Messiah finding him.
2) A believer, having been found by the Messiah, as he goes forth in his daily life amongst his acquaintances brings them to meet Jesus as the believer lives his faith.
3) The life of a believer is not an easy road, and he is not necessarily going to be loved or even tolerated by the people of the world in which he lives.
4) God gives the strength, courage, and peace to endure anything and everything that the believer will encounter as he bears the cross of Christ that gives him life.
Church history has it that St. Andrew was martyred on an "X" shaped cross. According to the 15th-16th century Lutheran theologian, Valerius Herberger;
"When St. Andrew was threatened witht he cross, he said joyfully, 'If I feared the punishment of the cross, I would never have preached the mystery of the cross.' Then when he saw the cross, he spoke, 'Hail, precious cross, you who were dedicated by the body of Christ; may He receive me through you, who redeemed me through you.' And when he was living after three days on the cross, his hearers wanted to take him down by force, but he said, 'Ah, let God take care of it! Do not make the peace of the Gospel suspect by your unnecessary revolt against the government.' That was apostolic constancy and long-suffering! This is what it means to 'leave everything and follow Christ,' all the way to the last catch of fish!" -- [The Daily Treasury of Prayer, CPH, p. 968]