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The Still Point A Time of Meditation and Reflection
The Feast of St. Andrew
… At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;
Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is,
But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity,
Where past and future are gathered. Neither movement from nor towards,
Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point,
There would be no dance, and there is only the dance…
T.S. Eliot, Burnt Norton
Peace on each one who comes in need;
Peace on each one who comes in joy.
Peace on each one who offers prayers;
Peace on each one who offers song.
Peace of the Maker, Peace of the Son,
Peace of the Spirit, the Triune One.
Everliving God,your apostle Andrew obeyed the call of your Son and followed him without delay;
grant that we like him may give ourselves readily to do what you command; through our Savior Jesus Christ.
The Gospel Matthew 4:18-22
As Jesus walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he went from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John, in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him.
Poem: Fishing by A.E. Stallings
The two of them stood in the middle water,
The current slipping away, quick and cold,
The sun slow at his zenith, sweating gold,
Once, in some sullen summer of father and daughter.
Maybe he regretted he had brought her—
She’d rather have been elsewhere, her look told—
Perhaps a year ago, but now too old.
Still, she remembered lessons he had taught her:
To cast towards shadows, where the sunlight fails
And fishes shelter in the undergrowth.
And when the unseen strikes, how all else pales
Beside the bright-dark struggle, the rainbow wroth,
Life and death weighed in the shining scales,
The invisible line pulled taut that links them both.
In the familiar gospel story, Jesus calls Andrew and his brother to leave their traditional work to follow him. In language that was clearly compelling to them, he makes a connection between their accustomed lives and the unknown challenge he offers.
The poem draws out some insights that are unspoken in the gospel story, and perhaps calls into question some of our assumptions. The daughter’s reluctance, once recognized, may seem more natural to us than the immediate eagerness of the first disciples. And still, the lessons she remembers, that fishing requires subtlety, patience, and a deft hand, seem a promising program for winning disciples. And perhaps most compelling, she understands that the project of fishing, whatever the object, is a “bright-dark struggle” which draws fisher and fished into transformative relationship.
Questions for Meditation
What do you remember about the first time you heard this very familiar gospel story?
What feelings does the poem evoke for you? What insights? What images in the poem speak to you of your life in faith, especially in these times?
What skills do you possess that might be “repurposed” in this time, so that you could be an authentic witness to the good news?
We bring before God someone whom we have met or remembered today
We bring to God someone who is hurting tonight and needs our prayer
We bring to God a troubled situation in our world
We bring to God, silently, someone whom we find hard to forgive or trust
We bring ourselves to God that we might grow in generosity of spirit, clarity of mind, and warmth of affection
We offer our thanks to God for the blessings in our lives
We name before God those who have died.
Gracious God, you hear all our prayers: those we speak aloud, those we hold in our hearts, and those prayers for which we have no words. Hear the prayers of your people, and grant them as may be best for us, for the sake of your holy name. Amen.
Accept our thanks for all you have done, O God. Our hands were empty, and you filled them.
May Christ’s holy, healing, enabling Spirit be with us every step of the way, and be our guide as our road changes and turns, and the blessing of God our Creator, Redeemer and Giver of life be among us now and remain with us forever. Amen.