November 30 is the Feast of St. Andrew.
After the Gospel of John opens with a lofty prologue, lifting us toward Jesus in language radiant with philosophy and mystery, we flutter back down to earth where he’s encountered by run of the mill types. Andrew among them.
When A-list actor John the Baptist* points at Jesus and says, “Hey, check him out,” Andrew (who’d been following *JTB to that point) runs over and follows this rising star. Jesus says, “Sure, come hang at my place” and Andrew is so there.
Andy is dazzled and runs off to tell his brother Simon about this.
One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter – *Cephas* and *Peter* are from the word for *rock* in Aramaic and Greek, respectively). [John 1:40-42 ESV]
So Peter gets the audition, the cool new name and eventual promotion to the top of Jesus’ entourage. Andrew is kind of in, kind of out… even though he’s Pete’s brother, he’s not always invited to the big events.
But Peter didn’t get there except by Andrew’s insight, inspiration and invitation. The A list guy emerged by the efforts of the B lister. Peter was carried by the bit player.
Quick, who catechized Mother Teresa? Who invited Billy Graham to hear the Gospel preached?
Most of us are B (C? D?) listers when it comes to Christian stardom, at least as earthly appreciation goes. But our impact, like Andrew’s, is probably more significant than we realize.
The stereotype is that the Academy Award winner goes to the mic and “thanks all the little people.” Andrew reminds us that there are probably some big time saints out there who connected with Jesus because you or I did our bit as extras in a crowd scene.