Archive for November 30th, 2019

The Scripture Readings:

Ezk. 3:16-21
Rom. 10:8-18
John 1:35-42

Collect of the Day:

Almighty God, by Your grace the apostle Andrew obeyed the call of Your Son to be a disciple. Grant us also to follow the same Lord Jesus Christ in heart and life, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

St. Andrew, Apostle:

Andrew (the name means “manly”), brother of Peter, was born in Bethsaida, a village in Galilee. He was the first apostle to follow Christ ( John 1:35-40), and his name regularly appears near the head of the lists of the apostles. Perhaps his greatest work was to bring his brother Simon Peter to the Lord. After Pentecost he is said to have preached in Palestine, Scythia, Epirus, and Thrace. A late and rather unreliable tradition says that he was martyred on November 30, ca. 70 at Patras in Achaia, Greece. The tradition that he was crucified on an X-shaped cross was popular in the fifteenth century; the earliest examples are from the tenth century. He was martyred, legend has it, for defying the proconsul Aegeas who ordered Andrew to stop preaching and to sacrifice to the gods.
St. Andrew’s body is said to have been taken, together with that of St. Luke, to the Church of the Holy Apostles in Constantinople in 357, and later removed to the cathedral of Amalfi, Italy. The church at Constantinople claimed St. Andrew as its first bishop. The churches in Greece and Russia in particular hold him in high honor. Also, quite early certain of his relics were taken to St. Andrew’s Church, Fife, and he became a patron saint of Scotland; the cross of St. Andrew in the Union Jack represents Scotland.
The feast of St. Andrew was observed as early as the fourth century by the Eastern church and in the sixth century in Rome and elsewhere; it is a national holiday in Scotland. St. Andrew’s Day determines the beginning of the church year, since the First Sunday in Advent is the Sunday nearest to St. Andrew’s Day. In many liturgical books, therefore, the list of saints begins with Andrew. (Treasury of Daily Prayer)

Tradition informs us that St. Andrew died on an X-shaped cross. His life laid down as Christ’s and Christ bore Andrew to himself. The X cross reminds me of the saying “X marks the spot”. And in Greek X Chi is the first letter in Christ.  This is the place. Here is treasure beyond all measure, fount of purest pleasure, Jesus Christ our Lord.  Andrew saw with clarity that Jesus Christ is the One and he brought his brother Peter to the Lord.  15 years ago to this day my colleague and mentor Pastor Lou Smith died. Lou saw with great clarity of his God-given intellect and soul Jesus Christ.  By his preaching of the Gospel, he showed many that this is the One: X marks the spot.  I was at the retreat in Hickory when Lou died.  His pastor, Rev. Jim Pence told me afterwards that as Lou was waiting for the operation he asked his pastor:  “Are the promises, true?”  “Yes, Lou, they are.”   The promises are the promises of the Lord fulfilled in Jesus Christ.   Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote that the Word of God, Jesus Christ,  is stronger in my brother than in me:  a sinner is dying to hear.  The Word needs to be heard to be believed. His Word is extra nos, outside of us.  Lou heard it once more:  yes, His Word is true.  Lou died in the Faith, as did his brother Andrew.  They pointed to Jesus Christ:  His Cross marks the spot in space and time of our salvation.  “God does not justify ungodliness but the ungodly.”-Pr. Louis Smith The Lord’s X, His Cross marks Your advent.

The Epistle Reading for Pr. Smith’s Burial of the Dead, 2 Timothy 4:

1 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2preach the word; be ready in season and out of season;reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 5As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

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