Readings (St. Andrew the Apostle) Romans 10:8b-18; Psalm 19:1-6; Matthew 4:18-22
Today marks a special day in my life. Three years ago on November 30, 2008, I entered into Holy Orders when I was ordained a deacon in the Anglican Church of Canada. The occasion was the celebration of the feast of St. Andrew the Apostle.
The saying is that even though one is ordained a priest, one always remains a deacon. Although a deacon has a variety of roles, the characteristic one seems to be the fact that the deacon is one who serves. This goes back to the book of Acts and the appointment of the seven deacons to make sure that the widows among the Greek members of the early church received adequate food when it was distributed among the members of the community.
Andrew, the Apostle whose feast day is celebrated today, is one who is most known for his role in bringing others into contact with Jesus. While not a deacon, he was one who seems to have willingly played a secondary role. It is Andrew who is recorded as introducing his brother Peter to Jesus.
Andrew is often held up as an example of what it means to live a life that is committed to pointing others towards Jesus. A life where we put ourselves into the background. In some ways one could say deacons in the church are somewhat like referees. They are doing their jobs best, and in so doing modeling for all believers the lives we should be striving to live, when no one notices that the job is being done. Yet, at the same time it is difficult to do any job where recognition is often not forthcoming.
The deacon often waits. Do their work as unto the Lord, and knowing that even when no one else notices their efforts or perhaps is even aware of them, they continue to work anyway.
This, by the way, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t commend deacons for the work they do. It may mean however, that if you are not aware of the work that the deacons are doing, it may mean that they are doing it very well indeed. It also may mean that if it looks like the deacons aren’t doing the job, that may be your signal to ask if you can assist them.
Waiting, when it comes to Christ’s second Advent is not meant to be done standing around, but rather in service, and like St. Andrew, leading others to a place where they can encounter Jesus.