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Sermon for the Feast of St. Andrew

“We have found the Messiah (which is being interpreted, the Christ).”

Andrew is the saint of the transition from our endings to our beginnings. He is the herald of the Advent season; his feast day falls either just before or just within the Advent season. Thus it is no surprise to find him mentioned in the Gospel for The Sunday Next Before Advent. Neither it is surprising that the Epistle for his feast day reflects on the major theme of God’s Word coming to us. His commemoration has very much to do with the important Advent idea of God’s engagement with our humanity through the Word of God. “What saith the Scripture?” is a large part of that idea.

Andrew is one of the two who heard John speak about Jesus as “the Lamb of God” and, as a consequence, followed Jesus. Andrew belongs to the first dialogue in The Gospel of John between Jesus and our humanity. Andrew is one of the first to turn to Jesus and one of the two to whom Jesus turns and asks, “What do you seek?” This leads to the back and forth of conversation that concludes with Jesus’ invitation to “come and see.” That becomes the immediate context of Andrew finding his own brother, Simon Peter, and bringing him to Christ as we heard on Sunday and as alluded to again in the Gospel tonight about becoming the disciples of Christ.

So we have with Andrew the two motions of our life with Christ and in Christ. There is our turning to him because of his turning to us; and there is our following him who bids us learn from him by our being with him. Such is the true nature of our following Christ and the true nature of our fellowship with one another in Christ. Andrew brings his brother, Simon Peter, to Christ. “We have found the Messiah (which is being interpreted, the Christ).” It is a loaded term theologically and doctrinally. It expresses with a certain intensity the nature of God’s engagement with our humanity in Jesus Christ.

Something is glimpsed and seen in Christ which fundamentally alters our thinking and our living; “and they straightway left their nets, and followed him”. In Sunday’s Gospel we see the beginnings of the apostolic faith in the passing on of the Word of Christ to others. The connection between Messiah and Christ is suggestive and strong. It inaugurates the whole intellectual tradition of making sense of the mediation between God and man in the Incarnation.

That is a large part of the Advent in the coming of God’s Word in mente, in carne and in judicio; his coming in the understanding of our minds, his coming as the Word made flesh, and his coming in judgment, both now and always, tam antiqua, tam novo, truth ever ancient and ever new. Advent awakens us to the presence of Truth. It challenges us to think seriously and prayerfully about our relation to the truth of God revealed in Christ, the one who also reveals us to ourselves. As Andrew brings Simon Peter, so too Andrew brings us to Christ.

And all in the power of the Word proclaimed, the Word of God that awakens us to hope and light, to life and service. Our desires find their truth and fulfilment in Christ, the one who turns to us, the one in whom we find truth and goodness.

“We have found the Messiah (which is being interpreted, the Christ).”

Fr. David Curry
Feast of St. Andrew, November 30th, 2017