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Homily on St Andrews Day

A Homily for  St Andrews Day

Most references to Andrew in the New Testament simply include him on a list of the Twelve Apostles, or group him with his brother, Simon Peter.

But he appears acting as an individual three times in the Gospel of John.

When a number of Greeks wish to speak with Jesus, they approach Philip, who tells Andrew, and the two of them tell Jesus (Jn 12:20-22).

Before Jesus feeds the Five Thousand, it is Andrew who says, “Here is a lad with five barley loaves and two fish.” (Jn 6:8f)

And the first two disciples whom John reports as attaching themselves to Jesus (Jn 1:35-42) are Andrew and another disciple (whom John does not name, but who is commonly supposed to be John himself — John never mentions himself by name, a widespread literary convention).

Having met Jesus, Andrew then finds his brother Simon and brings him to Jesus. Thus, on each occasion when he is mentioned as an individual, it is because he is instrumental in bringing others to meet Jesus

Little is known of St. Andrew in addition to these inspired notices of him. He is said to have preached the Gospel in Scythia; and he was at length martyred in Achaia.

His death was by crucifixion and   according to the tradition the type of cross he was crucified on was a saltire cross, an X shaped cross. His symbol is thus a Cross saltire, white on a blue background.

When the Byzantium or Constantinople Bishopric was founded it claimed that St Andrew had been their first Bishop and even that as he should take precedent over his brother Peter as Jesus had called Andrew first. As Russia was evangelised from Byzantium, St Andrew also became the patron saint of Russia.

About the middle of the tenth century, Andrew became the patron saint of Scotland. Several legends state that the relics of Andrew were brought under supernatural guidance from Constantinople to the place where the modern town of St Andrews stands today (Gaelic, Cill Rìmhinn).

Another legend says that in the late eighth century, during a joint battle with the English at what is now known as Athelstaneford, King Ungus  saw a cloud shaped like a saltire, and declared Andrew was watching over them, and if they won by his grace, then he would be their patron saint.  However, there is evidence Andrew was venerated in Scotland before this.

Andrew’s connection with Scotland may have been reinforced following the Synod of Whitby, when the Celtic Church felt that Columba had been “outranked” by Peter and that Peter’s brother would make a higher ranking patron. The 1320 Declaration of Arbroath cites Scotland’s conversion to Christianity by Andrew, “the first to be an Apostle”.

Although we know little about Andrew, what we do know is full of significance. He was the first convert amongst the apostles, he was especially in our Lord’s confidence and thrice described as introducing others to Jesus, not least St Peter.

Maybe we can take from Andrew’s story two things.

Firstly, it is not always the most well known and influential Christians who carry out the most important work. St Peter one could say over the years has been much more highly  esteemed than St Andrew, yet it was Andrew who brought him to our Lord.  Quiet, unassuming followers of our Lord are just as vital – if not more so, than those who take the positions of authority.

Secondly, it was the role of Andrew to bring others to our Lord. It is said that faith is caught and not taught. There must have been something about Andrew’s persuasiveness, about the way that Jesus had changed his life so much so that it showed- that made others want what Andrew had found.

We don’t have to be clever evangelists, or know our bibles inside out or be good at theology. But we can pray to have the gift which Andrew seemed to have in abundance – of showing his friends what a difference Jesus had made to his life, thereby ensuring that they caught the faith as well.

 

 

Readings:

Psalm 19 or 19:1-6
Deuteronomy 30:11-14
Romans 10:8b-18
Matthew 4:18-22
PRAYER (traditional)
Almighty God, who didst give such grace to thine apostle Andrew that he readily obeyed the call of thy Son Jesus Christ, and brought his brother with him: Give unto us, who are called by thy Word, grace to follow him without delay, and to bring those near to us into his gracious presence; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

PRAYER (contemporary)
Almighty God, who gave such grace to your apostle Andrew that he readily obeyed the call of your Son Jesus Christ, and brought his brother with him: Give unto us, who are called by your Word, grace to follow him without delay, and to bring those near to us into his gracious presence; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

A Post Communion Prayer

Blessed be you, O Christ our God,

Who revealed your wisdom to simple fishermen,

Sending upon them from above your Holy Spirit,

And thereby catching the universe as in a net.

Glory to you, O lover of human kind.

Amen

( Eastern Orhtodox)

A Blessing.

God the Sender, send us,

God the Sent, come with us

God the Strengthener of those who go,

Empower us,

That we may go with you

And find those who will call you

Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Amen

November 30, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized

4 Comments »

  1. Brilll.
    Exceptionally informative, luv it.

    Comment by Wingy | December 1, 2009 | Reply

    • Hi Wingy
      Good to hear from you again and hope things are going well in your patch of the Kingdom. I always learn a lot from reading up about the saints – though realise there is so much we dont know about them too.
      I love the words in the Eucharistic prayer:
      ” With angels and archangles and all the company of heaven…” – encouraging if there arent too many in church!
      Take care and hope you have a lovely Advent
      Paxtonvic

      Comment by paxtonvic | December 1, 2009 | Reply

  2. Thank you for the enlightening information on St. Andrew. In my devotion today for Matthew 4, I wrote about being a Fisher of Men, and it seems St. Andrew was definitely one.

    Thanks
    FaithfulinPrayer

    Comment by Jackie Durkee | December 1, 2009 | Reply

    • Hi Jackie,
      Thanks for you kind comment and glad you found the St Andrew thoughts helpful. I really enjoy reflecting on the saints – their lives have so much to teach us about Christian discipleship.
      God Bless
      Annette

      Comment by paxtonvic | December 1, 2009 | Reply


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