Wednesday, November 30, 2011

St. Andrew's Day

In a book of daily readings for the Church Year from C.S. Lewis, the following quotation from Mere Christianity was quoted for St. Andrew's Day. For today we remember the work of Christ among his Apostles, especially Andrew who looked not to the world, but to Christ and pointed others to him as well.

If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next. The Apostles themselves, who set foot the conversion of the Roman Empire, the great men who built up the Middle Ages, the English Evangelicals who abolished the slave trade, all left their mark on earth, precisely because their minds were occupied with heaven. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so innefective in this. Aim at heaven and you will get earth 'thrown in'; aim at earth and you will get neither. It seems a strange rule, but something like it can be seen in other matters. Health is a great blessing, but the moment you make health one of your main, direct objects you start becoming a crank imagining there is something wrong with you. You are only likely to get health provided you want other things more - food, games, work, fun, open air. In the same way, we shall never save civilization as long as civilization is our main object. We must learn to want something else even more. Mere Christianity, book III, chapter 10.

That seems to be a rather prominent theme in the life of the disciples, especially after Christ's death and resurrection. You can find it in a quote attributed to St. Andrew who was martyred on an X shaped cross, "Hail, precious cross, you who were dedicated by the body of Christ; may He receive me through you, who redeemed me through you." And so with that in mind, we join in thanks and praise for the work of Christ through his servant, Andrew.

All praise, O Lord, for Andrew,
The first to welcome You,
Whose witness to his brother
Named You Messiah true.
May we, with hearts kept open
To You throughout the year,
Confess to friend and neighbor
Your advent ever near.

The Treasury of Daily Prayer also has a fantastic quotation from Valerius Herberger on St. Andrew. Here's a portion of that reading:

Reverent hearts, we hold the feast of the apostle Andrew in Christendom the first in the church year not only because it falls near the season of Advent but also because Andrew was called first, before the other apostles, by the Lord Jesus...Now history tells us how St. Andrew together with his fellows conducted their new office. Right away they left their nets and followed Jesus. And again, right away they left the ship and their father and followed him. To them Jesus is now the most precious one on earth - according to his mind they learn, according to his words they teach, according to his will they live, according to his decree they suffer and die. When St. Andrew was threatened with the cross, he joyfully said, "If I feared the punishment of the cross, I would never have preached the mystery of the cross."

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