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Daily Devotional • November 30
The Feast of St. Andrew, Apostle

Sarah Cornwell
The Last, First
A Reading from the Gospel of John 1:35-42

35 The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, 36 and as he watched Jesus walk by he exclaimed, “Look, here is the Lamb of God!” 37 The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. 38 When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, “What are you looking for?” They said to him, “Rabbi” (which translated means Teacher), “where are you staying?” 39 He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon. 40 One of the two who heard John speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41 He first found his brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated Anointed). 42 He brought Simon to Jesus, who looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You are to be called Cephas” (which is translated Peter).

The feast of St. Andrew is a testament to the promise that the last shall be first. He is considered the first apostle called by Jesus. Yet, despite this designation, he is lesser-known than many of the other apostles. He is mentioned only a handful of times by name in the gospels. In today’s text, he brings his brother, Simon Peter — arguably the most famous apostle — to meet Jesus. Later on, Andrew brings forward the boy who presents two loaves and five fishes, which Jesus makes into a meal for five thousand. It also is Andrew who tells Jesus that there are some Greek-speaking men who wish to speak with him. In these few instances, Andrew is an intermediary. He is the minor character who connects others to the main character, Jesus. 

If our toil for the way of the cross feels underappreciated, be encouraged by the humility of St. Andrew. He is a hero of the everyman, a champion for the vast majority of us who will spend much of our life in the shadow of obscurity, quietly bringing people to the light, and barely mentioned at all. Even if it goes largely uncelebrated, let us celebrate every time we bring another brother or sister to Jesus Christ — perhaps for the first time — and rejoice in the way in which that person is lifted up, even if it is to a level that seems higher than our own. 

To inspire such Andrew-like humility, we might turn to the words of Dante who, speaking for those in the lowest and most obscure level of Paradise, writes: “Brother, love’s virtue sets our will at rest, / and makes us wish for only what we have, / and doth not make us thirsty for aught else” (Paradiso, Canto 3).

Sarah Cornwell is a laywoman and an associate of the Eastern Province of the Community of St. Mary. She and her husband have seven children and they live in Wheaton, Illinois.

Daily Devotional Cycle of Prayer

Today we pray for:

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Prosper, Texas
The Diocese of Nyamlel – The Province of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan
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