Once again I was listening to one of my favorite bands, Five Iron Frenzy, and was listening to their song “The Cross Of St. Andrew.” I realized that I didn’t know much about Andrew. Theses are the things that I knew and found out (a lot of the info has come from “Eerdman’s Dictionary of the Bible,” here, and here.)
Andrew (which means “manly” in the Greek) was one of the 12 apostles and the brother of Peter. He was a fisherman on the Sea of Galilee by trade. Tradition tells us that he went to preach in Scythia (Greece) and crucified in Achaia (a region in Greece) at Patras. There is an apocryphal book called “Acts of Andrew” which is largely thought to be fictional but in the spirit of the Christian mindset in the 2nd century. The story goes into Andrew’s missionary trips throughout Asia performing different miracles. The account tells of Andrew healing and converting the wife (who then takes an oath of celibacy) and brother of proconsul Aegeates. Aegetes then takes revenge by having Andrew flogged and crucified. Traditions has it that he was to be crucified in the same way that Christ was but objected saying he wasn’t worthy so the crucifix was turned sideways like an X (a saltire). Andrew preaches from the cross for three days and reportedly says “O good cross! Made beautiful by the limbs of Christ, so long desired, now so happily found! Receive me into thy arms and present me to my Master, that He who redeemed me through thee may now accept me from thee!”
Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland whose flag bears the white cross (actually the X, saltire) of St. Andrew. Andrew is also the patron saint of Russia where many flags are also adorned with the saltire.
Andrew has become a symbol for spreading God’s Gospel and someone who truly understood Jesus’ grace and mercy at the Cross.
“The Cross Of St. Andrew” – Five Iron Frenzy
One missed step can make you stumble,
you set yourself up for a fall.
You punish yourself for each failure,
dogma beat out alcohol.
When all of your principles were fashioned,
you thought that your new rules made you new.
But maybe those X’s on your hands,
are what’s killing you.
The Cross of Saint Andrew,
never meant to take His place.
The Cross of Saint Andrew,
echoes of His grace.
When Saint Andrew knew the measure,
he knew the cost of sacrifice,
he left all that he knew behind him,
great things come at such great price.
But all of this never brought the answers,
obedience comes with controversy,
what changed him changes me today,
Christ has mercy.
All your sins can be forgiven,
all of this was always free.
Jesus loves without condition,
this is what freedom means to me.
Nihil ergo nunc damnationis est
his qui sunt in Christo Iesu qui non
secundum carnem ambulant.
[Translated: Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. (Rom 8.1f)]
I found this to be a pretty interesting search for info on someone I didn’t know that much about!
So here are a few thoughts of mine if reference to what the first stanza (especially the dogma beat out alcohol line).
I am not positive about this one, but this is how I see it: Christians set very high standards for ourselves because, even though we know it isn’t true, we feel we have to show ourselves worthy to get in to heaven. Because of this we are really hard on ourselves when we screw up. Hence the first few lines of the song. I think the next step is we can be come very legalistic about some things, including (especially?) relating to alcohol. We try and remove anything that could be construed as bad and become legalistic about things so we can try and remain closer to God. [Edit that wasn’t in the email, thought I should be a little more concise here] This is what the “dogma beat out alcohol” line means, our legalism, dogma, have tried to remove anything “bad” even though alcohol isn’t necessarily bad. Then they go on to say “When all of your principles were fashioned, you thought that your new rules made you new.” They say this because it turns out that our legalistic nature is, indeed, not what has saved us but God’s good grace. The crosses on our hands are those rules we think we have to follow in order to be Christ but they are killing us because that has become our focus instead of Christ himself.
Any thoughts there?
EDITOR’S NOTE: This post is from a previous blog so the original comments no longer exist.