24 Aug 2016
Feast of Saint Bartholomew, Apostle
In the old church were rows of old pews. They were still pretty solid, those pews. The carpenter who made them had been a parishioner way back when. And he inscribed his name on one of them. But time and decades of use had made it illegible. And so, no one remembers exactly what his name was—only that he’d built those pews so others could come and worship God.
On this Feast Day of the Apostle Bartholomew, we’re reminded that his name has kind of worn away with time. We’re not even sure if his name was Bartholomew or Nathaniel, as we hear it in the Gospel of John. We only know that he lived a long time ago; that he gave his life to the Lord and to building the body of the faithful, and then he died. Even the manner of his death is up for debate.
We don’t know much about this man, other than he lived so that others could know and worship the living God. He helped to give us a foundation, a bench, an eternal pew to rest our faith on. And even though it’s pretty old, it’s still pretty solid. And that’s about the most we can hope to do, too.
In spite of all the programs and plans we pour ourselves into, the visions and dreams we wordsmith to death, the endless stack of church documents and debates in the church . . . in spite of all that, someday we’re going to go the way of our brother Bartholomew-Nathaniel (or whatever his name is). Someday we’ll be gone, and our names will fade.
And that’s okay—because God’s holy city will still be around. And we will have helped to build it. And we will be a part of it—that’s what matters. It isn’t important if people remember our names; it only matters that they remember God’s. After all, like Saint Bartholomew-Nathaniel (or whatever his name is), we’re here for God’s glory, not our own.
May we spend our lives to help build the splendor of God’s kingdom . . . and then simply fade away into glory.