Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Saint Andrew

The Feast of Saint Andrew traditionally determines the beginning of the Advent season, as the First Sunday in Advent is the one closest to November 30 (etither before or after).  Andrew's name day was placed at the beginning of the church year because he was the first of the twelve disciples.  In John 1:35-42, we read how Andrew heard the call, then recruited his brother Simon, who was given the new name of Peter by Jesus.

Today's hymn for Andrew's feast, from Christopher Wordsworth's The Holy Year (1865), also includes Peter, tying their brotherly connection to a wider message of love. Originally written in ten stanzas, I've adapted it down to a more likely four.

How fair and pleasant is the sight
When kindred hearts agree 
In holy amity and love, 
United, Lord, by thee.

Bright pattern of fraternal love
Today with joy we see,
Saint Andrew, who a brother brought,
Saint Peter, Christ, to thee.

Brothers by nature and by grace, 
Thou loved'st them as thine own;
Brothers united in the cross
And brothers in the crown.

They usher in thine Advent, Lord,
Which saved the world from sin;
For all who would that Advent greet,
Must first with Love begin.

Christopher Wordsworth, 1865; alt.
Tune: EXETER (C.M.)
Lowell Mason, 1823

Wordsworth gives us a footnote in the third stanza of his text here, reminding us that both Andrew and Peter ("Brothers united in the cross") were martyred by crucifixion.

Eight Years Ago: Saint Andrew

One Year Ago: Saint Andrew

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