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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Nov. 30: Today is a Red Day, and Why it Matters

Andrew, a faithful companion and disciple of Jesus Christ, was originally a disciple of John the Baptist, but when John the Baptizer pointed Jesus out, with the words, "Behold the Lamb of God", Andrew understood that Jesus was someone extraordinary.  He immediately left John to follow Jesus.  It wasn't long before Andrew knew that Jesus was truly the Messiah.  He quickly introduced his brother, Simon Peter, to Jesus, who subsequently called the two brothers to follow him full time, promising to make them, "fishers of men".  They left their fishing nets by the sea, and from then on, the two brothers were disciples of Christ.

Following the death and resurrection of Jesus, Andrew didn't keep the gospel message to himself.  He preached the message of Christianity to cities as far away as what is now Kiev, and hence, is the patron saint of a country that holds special significance in our household, Ukraine.

Andrew died a martyr's death, crucified for his Christian beliefs.

Andrew is the patron saint of many, including fishermen.  Several countries have chosen Andrew as their patron, including Scotland, Russia, and Ukraine.
Nov. 30 is the Feast Day of St. Andrew.

Why does this matter?

First and foremost, because Andrew was a close companion and disciple of Jesus.  Clearly Jesus saw some value in him.  (I always find it interesting that contemporary Christians are quick to embrace sports and historical heroes, but are averse to embracing heroes of the Christian faith...but that is another matter.)

Second, because persecution of Christians is not isolated to the past.

"On November 25, 2009, Pastor Yang Rongli and four other Linfen-Fushen church leaders from the Shanxi province were sentenced to criminal detention for two to seven years, according to China Aid Association.  The five were accused of "gathering people to disturb the public order" because they organized a prayer rally on Sept. 14, the day after 400 military police raided the church's grounds.  During that raid, more than 30 believers were seriously wonded and 17 buildings were destroyed.  Yan Rongli is scheduled to be released in 2017.

Today is a red day, because on feast days of martyrs, traditional churches use red in the altar linens and clergy vestments to represent the blood of our Christian brothers and sisters who have died for their beliefs...our beliefs.  Today is a red day, because it is a day for remembering.

Consider using St. Andrew's feast day to contemplate the tremendous impact that one believer can have, on countless people,  through ministry, and the tremendous sacrifices that have been made by past, and present day, believers.

Want an idea? Visit Voice of the Martyrs and choose an imprisoned Christian to pray for, or to write to.

Pax Christi,

Image: {{PD-1923}}-published before 1923 and therefore public domain in the US

1 comment:

  1. Michelle, I LOVE your blog! I put you in my reader--I'm sure I'll learn much here!

    Thanks for stopping by to visit my blog. I'm an occasional blogger these days. I thought I would have more time to blog as my children got older. Not ;-)


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