Monday, December 1, 2008

Saint Andrew

The feast day of Saint Andrew is generally celebrated on November 30, except in those years when it falls on a Sunday, in which case it can get bumped to Monday for something more significant (in this case, the First Sunday in Advent).

Andrew, one of the twelve disciples, was one of the earliest, with his brother Peter, to hear the call to follow Jesus. In some accounts he was first a follower of John the Baptist. He appears in some of the inportant Gospel stories, but is mentioned only once in the Book of Acts. Years later, he was martyred in Greece, crucified on a x-shaped cross now called the "St. Andrew's cross," usually shown in pictures of him (as above).

This hymn for St. Andrew's Day is known in many denominations.

Jesus calls us over the tumult
Of our life’s wild, restless, sea;
Day by day that clear voice soundeth,
Saying, “Christian, follow me!”

As of old Saint Andrew heard it
By the Galilean lake,
Turned from home and toil and kindred,
Leaving all for Jesus’ sake.

In our joys and in our sorrows,
Days of toil and hours of ease,
Jesus calls, in cares and pleasures,
“Christian, love me more than these!”

Jesus calls us! By thy mercies,
Savior, may we hear thy call,
Give our hearts to thine obedience,
Serve and love thee best of all.

Cecil Frances Alexander, 1852; alt.
William H. Jude, 1874

Now, most of those denominations don't actually mark St. Andrew's Day. This hymn is used year-round for the theme of following Christ's call to discipleship and service. But, of course, it's about a man. The women who heard the call didn't generally find their way into our hymnody until recently. So I wrote this additional verse for Mrs. Alexander's hymn some years ago, based on the story of Lydia, the "seller of purple," from Acts 16:11-15.

Faithful Lydia, selling purple,
Heard of Jesus' power to save;
Opened first her heart as off'ring,
Then her home as refuge gave.

Insert between the third and fourth verses above for use any time other than St. Andrew's Day.


Anonymous said...

I like your new verse. Nicely done.

Dorothy said...

Me too! Lydia is a very nice addition to this hymn, C.W.S.

C.W.S. said...

Glad you liked the new verse. I was pleased to be able to get her whole "story" in with just four lines.