ON BEING THE CHURCH OF ST ANDREW A Reflection on the ‘Andrew Way’
At the beginning of John’s Gospel there were two unnamed disciples who followed Jesus: ‘"Where are you staying?" "Come and see". and they stayed with Jesus for the rest of the day. ‘One of the two disciples was Andrew. Andrew finds his brother Simon and brings him to Jesus’.
In Mark’s Gospel there were two family fishing partners the brothers James and John - Sons of Zebedee Sons of Thunder and the other two brothers, Simon and Andrew fishing partners washing their nets by the shore at the end of the night’s fishing called by Jesus to leave all and follow and learn to start fishing for people James and John Simon and Andrew. Andrew comes last
The one who had taken the first initiative to meet Jesus is often the one who comes last the one who is left behind.
At the home of Jairus: ‘Jesus allowed no one to accompany him except Peter, James and John’. What about Andrew?
On the Mount of Transfiguration: ‘Six days later Jesus took Peter took Peter, James and John with him’. What about Andrew?
In the Garden of Gethsemane: ‘When they reached a place called Gethsemane, he said to his disciples, "Sit here while I pray". And he took Peter, James and John with him’.
What about Andrew? In the story of the feeding of the five thousand in John’s Gospel Where’s Andrew?
‘One of the disciples, Andrew, the brother of Simon and Peter, said to him, "There is a boy here who has five loaves and two small fish; but what are they among so many?"’ While others are up front with Jesus Andrew is out there in the midst of the crowd looking for something ever so small hesitant, almost unsure of the help he has to offer.
And Andrew was the one that others sought out to help make connections even across cultural and religious boundaries a bridge to the other side. ‘Among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, "Sir, we would like to see Jesus". So Philip went and told Andrew, and the two went to tell Jesus’.
And Andrew was willing to fade out of the story when the time was right. The last picture we have of Andrew in John’s Gospel: ‘Some time later, Jesus showed himself to his disciples once again, by the Sea of Tiberias; and in this way: Simon Peter and Thomas ‘the twin’ were together with Nathanael of Cana-in-Galilee. The Sons of Zebedee and two other disciples were also there...’. Was Andrew one of the two?
At the beginning of the Gospel two unnamed disciples were the first to be invited to stay with Jesus for a couple of hours. Now at the end of the Gospel Andrew has once more faded into the background not even named left behind perhaps to pull in the fishing net while his brother Simon was rushing off to meet Jesus.
Or perhaps he was not there at all maybe he was somewhere else already quietly getting on with his backup work hesitatingly taking quiet initiatives offering practical help making quiet connections across cultural and religious boundaries content to remain nameless content to fade out at the end of the story as others take the lead still following Jesus in an Andrew sort of way
St Andrew’s Church and People are called to be an Andrew sort of people watching to see what needs to be done waiting to take quiet initiatives, ready to offer practical help, quietly building relationships, even across cultural and religious boundaries and most of all responding to the invitation to stay with Jesus and inviting people simply to "come and see" and follow...
Prepared initially for the Centenary of St Andrew’s Church, Suva 1983 Revised for the Centenary of St Andrew’s Church, Henderson, June 2011