Revd. Matt Hodder's Reflection for Sunday 25th October 2020

According to Wikipedia (so I’ll allow you to prepare your rather large pinch of salt), there are 37 churches in the UK named after St Jude, and 19 named after St Simon. That’s only 56 churches in the entire United Kingdom which are named after two of Jesus disciples. This pales into insignificance when you compare it to the 139 churches named after St Barnabas, or the 546 named after St James.

 

Poor old Simon., Poor old Jude. They hardly ever get a mention….

 

Until this week that is…..because this Wednesday (28th October) is the day the church commemorates St Simon and St Jude. Now, if I’m really honest with you I am not much of an observer of saints’ days. It’s not that I have anything against them, but it just isn’t all that important to me and my faith. I suspect if we’re being brutally honest it’s not a day which will attract much attention in the church either, as it’s called a ‘lesser festival’. Perhaps it’s not surprising to see why. In the Bible there seems to be a fair amount of confusion as to who they were exactly. We know that they were two of the twelve disciples of Jesus; the twelve that were especially chosen by Him from a larger group in order that they may learn from Him and His ministry. But Luke’s Gospel calls them Simon and Judas (although apparently the name change came from a desire to distance Jude from the other Judas!) Mark and Matthew call them Simon and Thaddeus! And John, ever keen to do his own thing, calls Jude Jude and ignores Simon altogether.

 

Poor old Simon. Poor old Jude (or Judas, or Thaddeus.)

 

Clearly so unspectacular that they’re surrounded in confusion. But, these two were part of Jesus’s ‘inner circle’ and they were in fact important people in the beginnings of the church. According to legend they were martyred together in Persia and Simon was sawn in half, which is why we often see him depicted in churches with a saw in hand. Now you may well ask yourself why on earth is the Curate rambling on about these two second-rate disciples?

 

Well, you see the thing is I think we can learn a lot from these two because I would be wiling to guess that the church in this country is full of people like Simon and Jude. In my experience the church is built and sustained by those who go about their business quietly and faithfully. Our churches are full of those who have been faithfully worshipping and witnessing for years and years. They are kind and caring people who are dependable and steadfast.

 

Perhaps you’re the kind of person who is much more comfortable making the tea or cleaning the church that leading the service. Maybe you’re happier digging out the weeds than you would be preaching a sermon. The truth is the church needs people like you! Yes it is important to have the Peters and the Pauls of this world, who stand up and lead from the front. But our churches also need Simons and Judes, who are happier serving from the back.

 

So if that’s you, I just want to say thank you. We all need a Simon and a Jude in our lives.


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