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Sunday, 30 November 2014

St Andrew's Day

I wonder if I am alone in sometimes wishing that I was "someone else"?   Not that I have any desire to be one of the modern, so-called, 'celebrities' - whether in the world of sport, or of entertainment, or of business.  No, when I think like that, I want to be a Billy Graham; a Luis Palau; a John Wesley; a Martin Luther; even a Peter, or a Paul!

Of course, such idle dreamings are exactly that - no more, and no less.  I have not been gifted in the same way as these men were/are.  I believe that I may have been used by God, just as they have been - but not to the same extent.  That's why their names are known to history; mine is confined to family, friends, and acquaintances - and a few Christian fellowships!

Today is November 30th, the day in the Christian calendar dedicated to St. Andrew, one of the first of the disciples of Jesus, the Christ, and the patron saint of Scotland (as well as Greece, and Russia).  According to John, it was Andrew who first introduced his brother, Simon, to Jesus, (John 1:40-42) and Jesus gave Simon that name of Peter, a rock: an indication of what he was to become, but certainly not what he was then.  I find that to be very encouraging!  God sees you and me, not as we are but as what we may, by His grace, become.

Peter became one of great leaders of early Christian community.  He wrote two of the letters that have been preserved for us in the Bible.  But without Andrew, there might not have been a Peter.

Some may recall the old Negro spiritual that says:  “If you can’t preach like Peter, if you can’t pray like Paul; just go and tell your neighbour, and say Christ died for all.” (There is a balm in Gilead).  And it may be that, by the grace of God, it is your neighbour who will then be the Peter, or the Paul, or the Billy Graham.

Tradition says that Andrew was crucified – but on a cross shaped like an X.  That’s the origin of the Scottish national flag, the Saltire.  The story is that, before a battle with an English king, Angus mac Fergus, king of the Picts – the people who lived in the lowlands – had a dream in which Andrew appeared and promised him victory.  During the battle, a Saltire cross was seen in the sky and this encouraged Angus and his troops.  After his victory, Angus ordered that the Saltire be the badge of the Picts.

Andrew is a saint – but according to the New Testament, so am I, and so are you if you belong to Jesus.  A little boy was asked to explain what a saint is.  He remembered that, in the church building his family attended, there were stained glass windows with pictures of some of the saints in the Bible, and how beautiful they looked when the sunlight shone through them.  So he answered that a saint is somebody that the light shines through!

Jesus said: “I am the Light of the world”.  But the only way in which some will see Him is if we allow Him to shine through us! 

You and I may never be a Peter, or a Paul – but we may be an Andrew, letting the light of the Lord Jesus shine through us, that others might come to know Him, and receive Him as their own Saviour and Lord.

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