Tuesday, December 13, 2016


These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon, also known as Peter, and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed him.  Matthew 10:2-4

(tune: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer)
You know Andrew and Peter,
James and John;
Philip and Matt,
Judas and Tom;
but do you recall,
the most insignificant disciple of all?

(Yes, I know that is not how the song goes)

But the truth is that there are those disciples/apostles for whom we know very, very little.  Oh, the big names: Peter, John, Matthew - the ones who got to go on the book tours and appear on all the talk shows; Thomas, who didn't know the way and was obviously from the Show-Me state; even Judas, the traitor, the guy who kissed Jesus on the cheek and then kicked him over to the authorities - we know all these folks.  Their backgrounds, their families, their work.  They have churches and schools, hospitals and colleges, even cities named after them.

But James (the Little or the Less, depending on who knew him)?  Thad? Simon?  Who are these guys?  Where did they come from?  What did they ever accomplish?  Truth is, we don't know.  They seem to be mentioned once, maybe twice, and then disappear from the stage.  Their later lives are shrouded in mystery, legend, speculation.  They are forgotten, dismissed, lost.

They didn't write any books and become big successes, but maybe they were the ones walking the streets and taking care of the folks who live in the shadows.

They didn't appear before crowds of thousands with megawatt smiles on their faces, but maybe they were making sure kids who needed a meal, or a schoolbook, or health care got all these things.

They weren't the ones the media folks contacted when they needed a 'faith representative' to come on the morning show, but maybe they were the ones that the mother with the addicted child, the dad needing a car repair, the lonely teenager knew that if they knocked on Thad's or Simon's door, they would find a friend.

Maybe, just maybe, they weren't so insignificant after all.

(c) 2016 Thom M. Shuman

No comments: