“Their sound went out into all the earth,
and their words unto the end of the world.”
Andrew is the Advent saint. Sometimes his feast day anticipates Advent and at other times, it falls within the first week of Advent, as it does this year. In either case, he begins the cycle of the Church’s commemoration of the Saints throughout the course of the year. And, as always, there is something rich and significant about beginnings.
Andrew is recognized as the patron saint of Scotland and, therefore, of New Scotland, Nova Scotia, as well. Scotland, not to mention Nova Scotia, is a long ways from the land of the New Testament, a long ways from the setting of the story of the calling of the brothers Simon Peter and Andrew, and the brothers Zebedee, James and John, a long ways from the sea of Galilee. It reminds us of the missionary impulse of the Christian faith. Which is not to say that Andrew ever laid eyes on either!
Yet, the spiritual point is clear. Those who follow Jesus become the ones who proclaim Jesus and make him known even “unto the ends of the world.” For much of the first millennium or more, Scotland must often to have seemed to be the very end of the world. Perhaps, too, the same might be said of Nova Scotia. And yet, the word has gone forth on the wings of the saints and carried forward by their witness to Jesus Christ. Critical to that witness, as the readings on this feast day reminds us, is the Scripture. The Feast of Andrew belongs to that pageant of Word and Song which is part and parcel of the Advent of Christ.