Advent Afternoons: Come Along and Bring Your Brother.
Today is the Feast of St. Andrew and the weather here on the Cumberland Plateau is doing its level best to approximate the grayest wettest Scottish November possible. I also have a head cold and an ear ache, so be forewarned…I’m grumpy.
In the prayer for this day, we are invited to remember that not only did Andrew hear and respond to Jesus’ call to follow him, he went and got his brother, Peter, and brought him along as well.
I sort of doubt that would happen today.
The whole idea of brotherhood has seen some really lean times lately. Like “neighbor” we have defined the concept “brother” so narrowly that it often doesn’t even include our biological siblings. Brothers (and sisters) are understood to be those who agree with us, who share our “values” (for good or ill) and who don’t threaten or embarrass us. It makes for a pretty exclusive family; and, by-the-way, frees us from the responsibility of taking Jesus seriously.
If the Gospels are any indication, St. Peter could not have been an easy brother to live with. But the season of Advent begins with the example of Andrew going out of his way to bring him into a relationship with Jesus. Andrew could have chosen to make the journey into discipleship, and to foster his friendship with Jesus entirely on his own. But he didn’t. He cared enough about his brother to want to share the Good News. So he delayed his own experience long enough to go and get his irascible brother, Peter.
Maybe Advent is inviting us to do the same? Maybe, rather than erecting barriers to protect ourselves from the reality of our shared humanity, we should be looking for ways to expand the concept of brotherhood to include as many folk as possible. Maybe bringing our brothers along is the best way to get there ourselves.