November 25th – Part of a Team



I don’t know about you, but I sometimes get exasperated by preachers who hold up the great saints, heroes, heroines and martyrs for the Christian faith, as working models for me to follow. Why do I get exasperated? I’ll tell you. It’s as if they are saying Paul was a wondrous mystic and activist. He preached, taught, wrote and remained on fire for his Lord. The implication is, why aren’t you like that? Mother Theresa is also a popular example. So why don’t I go and wash the feet of the poor in Calcutta? Then there is St. Peter, the working man who led from the front: there is St. John who walked and breathed so close to Christ, and again the implication – Why don’t you if you are a Christian? It is like Sir Edmund Hillary saying “I’ve climbed Everest – now come on, you do it”. Or Martin Luther saying “I changed the world – why don’t you?” I want to cry out “Is there no ordinary Christian who, like me, is not star quality – just mediocre?” Is there no working model I can call “Saint Man in the Street”? or better still “Saint Everyman”? Well the answer is ‘Yes’, there are thousands of them – millions in fact, whose lives are so ordinary no-one ever writes of them. They have no status to their name. Well I have one name; a saint’s at that, whose special day is celebrated this week, on the 30th November – the last day in the church’s year. If I asked you, like a quiz master, ‘Can you name him?’, especially if you are not a Scot, could you? No, he’s not a Scot, but he is the Patron Saint of Scotland, and this week we will look at this man’s life in the New Testament. There are twelve places in the Gospels where he is named. In nine of them he is simply one in a list of names, like one on the discipleship team sheet. But in three places he is briefly mentioned in his own right which we will begin to look at tomorrow, but for now, just being one of Jesus’s men, one of ‘Jesus’s gang’ is notable in itself. I may do nothing great in my little life, but I do belong to a most glorious team of fellow Christians.
Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison.They were stoned; they were sawn in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and ill-treated – the world was not worthy of them.These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together
A Prayer:
Thank you Lord that, like a mighty army moves the Church of God, and in Christ me and mine are living parts of it. We are content to belong to it, especially if we are not qualified to help lead it.
Now read Psalm 84.

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