Friday, February 20, 2015

Friday following Ash Wednesday

Psalm 31      Deuteronomy 7:12-16      Titus 2:1-15       John 1:35-42      
As a child I was familiar with Saint Andrew, largely because the hymn “Jesus Calls Us,” was a great favorite of my grandmother who led Sunday afternoon hymn sings with us grandchildren. The hymn refers to the familiar account in Matthew and Mark where Jesus comes upon Andrew and Peter, fishermen, casting their net and bids them “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.” As the hymn puts it: “As of old, Saint Andrew heard it, by the Galilean lake, turned from home and toil and kindred, leaving all for his dear sake.” As a child I accepted this but found it eccentric, unrelated to my own daily life. As an adult I am glad to revisit Andrew and try to imagine his experience.

Today’s passage in John’s Gospel gives quite a different account, telling us that Andrew was a disciple of John the Baptist and was standing with John who “as he watched Jesus walk by . . . exclaimed, ‘Look, here is the Lamb of God!’” This was John’s second proclamation of Jesus as God’s Lamb. Andrew and another of the Baptist’s disciples took off and followed Jesus then and there. When Jesus turned and asked them, “What are you looking for?” they answered, “Rabbi (Teacher), where are you staying?” Jesus respon-ded, “Come and see” and Andrew and the other disciple went to see.

Andrew went first to find his brother, Simon, and brought him along to meet Jesus. This sharing of experience appeals to me as a grownup. When I’ve heard a stirring sermon or have been moved strongly by some event, I want to share it with a friend. The few references we have to Andrew show him bringing people to Jesus—it was Andrew who was aware of the small boy who had “five barley loaves and two fish” (John 6:9) when Jesus on the mountain  asked, “Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat?” And it was Andrew whom Philip (his fellow Galilean) sought to go with him to Jesus to announce that “some Greeks” had come saying, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” Andrew is not necessarily the up-front leader, but he connects people. I admire this.

— Jane W. Rotch 

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