Feast of St. Philip and St. James[Go to Mission St Clare for an online version of the Daily Office including today’s scripture readings.]
Today’s Readings for the Daily Office:
Psalms 119:137-160 (morning) // 139 (evening)
Some of the twelve apostles get their very own feast days on the church calendar, but Philip and James have to share. The James we commemorate today (different from other New Testament Jameses) appears only on Biblical lists of the twelve apostles. He doesn’t play a speaking part or get a casting credit in any stories. Similarly, Philip is simply a name on a list in the gospels of Mark, Matthew, and Luke. He does, however, appear in a few stories from the gospel of John.
We read one of those stories today. After calling some other disciples, Jesus finds Philip and says to him, “Follow me.” Philip in turn finds Nathanael and tells his friend about Jesus of Nazareth. Nathanael asks skeptically, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip, non-defensive and undeterred by skepticism, simply invites Nathanael to see for himself: “Come and see.”
Today’s commemoration of two saints together, one of whom graciously brought his friend to meet Jesus, reminds us that Jesus’s apostles were not simply outstanding individuals. Perhaps we should even resist studying and celebrating them in isolation. Rather, the apostles’ ministry was to be good friends, to number themselves among many companions of Jesus, and to reveal Christ by nurturing their connections with others.
This model of discipleship can inspire us on days when we feel like no more than a name on a numbered list, or like our sphere of influence is limited to the handful of people around us. That’s just where Jesus calls us, and just where Jesus positions us, among all the quirky and skeptical people Jesus would love to count as friends.
Lora Walsh blogs about taking risks and seeking grace at A Daily Scandal. She serves as curate of Grace Episcopal Church in Siloam Springs and as director of the Ark Fellows, an Episcopal Service Corps program sponsored by St. Paul’s in Fayetteville, Arkansas.