The Challenging Message Of St Andrew’s Day
By Fin Sheridan
Today is Scotland’s National Day aka St Andrew’s Day! For those of you not up to speed on who St Andrew is, let me help you out. Andrew, pre-sainthood, was the brother of Peter. We first meet him in Matthew 4:19, when Jesus walks up to him and Peter and simply says “Come and follow me”. Andrew and Peter were just ordinary fishermen, yet they would be pivotal to Jesus’ ministry.
After Jesus’ death and resurrection, there are records of Andrew preaching and evangelising throughout Poland, Russia and Greece (just like CBN!). He was eventually crucified in Greece, on an X shaped cross. ‘According to legend, a monk named Regulus, brought relics of St Andrew to Scotland where he was given land to build a church by a Pictish king. The settlement grew into the town of St Andrew’s, where the cathedral became a place of religious pilgrimage and the university, the oldest in Scotland, was founded in 1413.’ The X shaped cross that Andrew was crucified on was later to form part of the Scottish flag!
“What if doing something great for God means a life of relatively obscure ministry followed by martyrdom and then fading into obscurity?”
Pretty amazing story right? What struck me as I was researching St Andrew’s Day is that I didn’t know any of this! I knew a bit about Peter from the book of Acts, I knew John got shipwrecked on an island where he wrote Revelation and I know that the other apostles were all killed but I couldn’t tell you how or where.
They were ordinary, unschooled men who turned the world upside down but many of them died horrible deaths that are not remembered or acknowledged. The church spread through them, they paid the ultimate price and yet now? They are simply days in the calendar, marked by some, forgotten by most.
This challenges me when I think about what it means to “do something great for God” or “make my life count” – common messages in the church today. What if doing something great for God means a life of relatively obscure ministry followed by martyrdom and then fading into obscurity? Would I still sign up for it? Would my enthusiasm wane? Would I choose another path?
Jesus may call us into the spotlight or he may call us into the shadows. He may call us to nations or to our hometown, to platforms or workplaces. Whatever his call, we must simply, like Andrew, lay down our nets and follow him.