I’m moving out of home this weekend… It’s terrifying.
I’m scared that I won’t cope, that I’ll spend too much money, that I’ll slowly die from having to eat my own cooking, that I’ll asphyxiate in my room, that I’ll alienate my housemates, that I’ll go crazy and get cross and be annoying and fail adulthood and just cry all. the. time.
So it was a comfort that today, the 30th November, was the feast day of St Andrew the Apostle. He was one of the first disciples of the Lord and the brother of St Peter and most importantly for me right now, he also left home.
In fact, they all did, didn’t they? And not just in the ordinary “so I’m moving out” kind of way like I’m doing but the radical, “the Lord of Lords is calling me” kind of way. Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. Immediately they left their nets and followed him.” (Mt 4:19-20)
Immediately. They left their nets. They went. They followed Christ. (I doubt they put off packing like I’m doing right now.)
Truthfully, I’d be scared to leave my nets.
You can catch things we nets. You can secure things with nets. You can get financial security from all the stuff you can catch with your nets. Moving out, I’m terrified I will be poor. The thought of having a net to catch some yummy fish makes me feel a little like Smeagol. And I don’t even like fish.
Nets also remind me of all the snuggly, secure comforts of what I know and what I can control. They’re the webs of familiarity that I’m cocooned in. They’re literally our networks, connecting us to others and enmeshing us in what we know.
It seems to me that nets represent a twofold security: both physical because you can secure things in them and emotional because you can be secure in them. Either way, it’s safe, and comfortable, and known. I like that.
But the disciples left all that. They followed Christ and went out into the Big Bad World.
They went from town to town, and village to village, sent out “as sheep in the midst of wolves” (Mk 10:16). When the “the world has hated them because they are not of the world”, (John 17:14) they shook the dust off their feet (Mk 10:14) and kept going, with “no gold or silver or copper… no bag for [the] journey… or sandals or a staff” (v. 9-10).
For “a disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master”, (v. 24) and “foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” (Mt 8:20)
That sort of leaving terrifies me. Because I love my comforts and I love my security. And in my own tiny 21st-Century-sheltered-little-rich-girl way, I’m about to do the same. I’m about to leave my nets and go someplace new.
Wait, did I just compare the radical ministry of the itinerate Apostles and Martyrs with my moving out to a very lovely flat, with my own room and wonderful people and every convenience of Western, technologised prosperity? Why, yes I did. Ah, hubris, my old and dear friend.
But that’s what we do as Christians, isn’t it? We join our paltry fears to great ones and our meagre efforts to holy ones. We rely on this communion of saints, from the great St Andrew to all the other nameless Andrews who left everything to follow Christ, because
“there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.” (Mark 10:29-30)
So I’m praying, to our Heavenly Father and to our brother Andrew, that it will go well and that I will be brave.
And if that fails, I suppose I can always copy St Andrew one more time… and ask to spend the night with Jesus.
“Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, “What are you seeking?” And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?” He said to them, “Come and you will see.” So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour.” (John 1:35-39)
Because even if I do fail at living out of home, Jesus can’t kick me out, right?
St Andrew, pray for us.