Dancing with Andrew, Patron Saint of the Second Fiddle!

Itzhak Perlman (right) gets the limelight everywhere he goes                                                                                                                         but what of the "lesser" folks who perform around him and help him shine?!?

Itzhak Perlman (front, left) commands the limelight everywhere he goes but what of the “lesser” folks who perform around (and “under”) him and help him shine? (Thanks be to God for all the “Second Fiddle Saints” who fill our lives–who model what the majority of us are called to be!)

Happy, Feast Day of St. Andrew!

Sad to me that too many Protestants do not “feast” a little bit more on the lives of the Saints—celebrating and contemplating the ways their lives and living might nourish ours! (Oh, how I lament the ways we carry too many unnecessary, unhealthy, and unconscious vestiges of more pronounced anti-Catholic days—commemorating expressions of faithful living being just one of them!)

Take St. Andrew, for example…

Someone has said that while Peter’s name appears in the four gospels 96 times (only Jesus is mentioned more often), Andrew’s name is only found 14 times–and most of those times he is referred to as “Peter’s brother.” And while there are numerous accounts/traditions of things he said or did, the New Testament only records Andrew as doing three things:
• bringing his brother, Simon Peter, to Jesus (John 1:40-42),
• introducing a little boy with five barley loaves and a couple of fish to Jesus (John 6:8-11), and
• facilitating a visit between some inquiring Greeks and Jesus (John 12:20-23).

See a common thread? Each time, Andrew serves as a liaison–an intermediary–between Jesus and others.  And, what’s more, they are connections that are “catalytic” in nature. That is, on the other side of Andrew’s facilitating connections, greater things happen. That’s certainly the case with Peter (who becomes a chief among the disciple-apostles) and it’s certainly the case on the other side of Jesus meeting the little boy with the loaves and fishes (where 5,000 are fed!).

On this basis of this witness and other folklore (accentuating his humble, “connecting” ways), is it any wonder that Andrew has been labeled by some as a “Patron Saint of the Second Fiddle”–that is, a model of and for those content to work and perform in less spectacular/prominent ways so that greater Lights might shine.

Here, I cannot help but pause and inject. What was famed conductor Leonard Bernstein response–when asked which instrument in the orchestra he considered to be the most difficult to play? “Second violin,” he commented without hesitation. “ I can get all the first violinists I need, but to find a competent and skilled second violinist who plays with enthusiasm, that’s the problem.”

Second-Fiddle Andrew. Not a bad example to commemorate and contemplate, huh? And at this very time of year—when choices (between Jesus and self) may be no more pronounced in our rituals than they will be over the course of the coming weeks and month!

Yes, Andrew’s not a bad choice for who we might want to position at the gates of Advent—inviting us all to embrace a lifestyle of “come and see,” being content to perform smaller functions as a Greater Light shines!

And maybe, when it comes to the authentic dance we seek, there’s more to commemorating the lives of the Saints than we may realize!

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