The anonymous Christian

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The anonymous Christian

Postby GregB » October 28th, 2011, 8:30 am

There's a fine reflection in today's devotional website by Donagh O'Shea which I think is very comforting for those Christians who feel they have no special gift (though faith itself is a gift, albeit from God himself) or talents to put into service, who feel rather anonymous in the "great crowd of witnesses" (Hebrews ch.12.):

28 October [Simon and Jude, apostles]
Lk 6:12-16
Now during those days he went out to the mountain to pray; and he spent the night in prayer to God. And when day came, he called his disciples and chose twelve of them, whom he also named apostles: Simon, whom he named Peter, and his brother Andrew, and James, and John, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James son of Alphaeus, and Simon, who was called the Zealot, and Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.

Simon and Jude could be the patrons of all anonymous people. Both of them have difficulty even in getting their names remembered! Simon is chiefly known as “not Simon Peter”! The gospel writers themselves call him by different names: Luke calls him “Simon the Zealot,” Matthew and Mark call him “Simon the Canaanite.” Nothing more than that is recorded of him. It’s a slim CV. His companion Jude is likewise almost anonymous. There is difficulty about his name too: John calls him “Judas – not the Iscariot!” Luke calls him “Jude the brother of James,” Matthew calls him “Thaddeus.” Nothing is said of him in any of the gospels except that he asked a question, “Lord, what is all this about?” (Jn 14:22). The rest is silence. A New Testament letter bears his name, but scholars think it extremely unlikely that he wrote it.

Their egos left no trace – like the flight of birds in the sky. They are the patrons of the vast majority of all the Christians who have ever lived. There is a lot to be said for silence and anonymity: they can give depth. Without Simon and Jude the New Testament would be poorer; it would be all light and little shade. We might not so easily see ourselves in it.
"The wiles of dissembling fate afford us the illusion of freedom, yet in the end always lead us into the same trap."
- Jean Cocteau
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Re: The anonymous Christian

Postby Sprocket » January 4th, 2013, 10:11 am

St Jude used to be ignored by Catholics in praying to the saints, probably because he was confused with Judas Iscariot. Consequently, he was made patron saint of lost causes, being a bit of one himself.
That link reveals something I didn't know before: that saints can be patrons against things, as well as for them. St Nicholas of Myra is patron against imprisonment, robberies, and robbers.
Treason doth never prosper: what's the reason?
Why, if it prosper, none dare call it treason.
Sir John Harington (1561-1620)
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Re: The anonymous Christian

Postby Bev » January 4th, 2013, 4:36 pm

Interesting. Honestly, I believe the most effective saints in God's kingdom quietly offer the Light of Christ to others in life, sometimes even to others who might never know their name. Jesus picked them Jude and Simon for good reason, to be sure. It's telling that he would, and that we would then know so little about them. There's a great deal of comfort in that, actually.

Good OP, Greg.
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Re: The anonymous Christian

Postby different glory » January 5th, 2013, 10:21 am

Thanks, Greg,for passing on that reflection -- that apostles, the chosen messengers, can be silent, as far as history and the world is concerned. I especially liked this line: "Their egos left no trace – like the flight of birds in the sky." which leads to other reflections, about the value of lives not noticed (by history and the world :)).
That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all thy wondrous works. - Psalm 26
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