“Therefore, we must select one of those who have accompanied us during the whole time the Lord Jesus lived among us…” – Acts 1:21 CEB
Very little is known about Saint Matthias, as he is only mentioned in the first chapter of Acts when he is elected to replace Judas as an Apostle. Early church fathers believe that he was among the 72 sent out by Jesus, but the only thing we know for sure about Matthias is this: he followed Jesus from the beginning and was present throughout the ministry of Jesus.
There are little nuggets like this throughout the New Testament that are easy to overlook. We know the disciples answered the call of Jesus and followed him, but it is easy to forget or recognize there were others, too. In the midst of the crowds that gathered in villages and followed Jesus around, there were those who followed him from the beginning, accompanying Jesus and the disciples along their journey. I wonder…how big was this following?
That there was this other group following Jesus and the disciples is very fascinating to me. They would have witnessed so very much: each and every teaching, each and every miracle, the events in Jerusalem, the tomb, the resurrection, and the ascension. They were faithful from the beginning.
Matthias and Justus must have been upstanding individuals to be considered for the mantle of Apostle. However, at the most basic level, they were present and they were faithful. Simply, they were willing to show up.
When I was relatively new as a full-time youth minister, I attended a meeting with other youth ministers at our diocesan office. It was one of those gatherings over lunch where we vented our frustrations, shared ideas, and developed community. At some point during our meeting, a senior priest on staff at the Cathedral poked his head into our meeting. He was asked to share a word of wisdom with us.
“More than 90% of youth ministry is just showing up.”
It was both very simple and quite profound. I’m sure more was said, however, his core point stuck: showing up, faithfully and reliably, is vitally important. This is true for all types of ministry.
And this is the ministry of Matthias. He followed faithfully. He showed up reliably. He was present consistently. This is what the mission of the church and the call of Jesus requires: showing up. When we show up, with an open heart and open hands, we cultivate the potential for tremendous opportunity.
I am grateful for the faithful saints I have had the privilege of serving and working with over the years: the youth volunteers, all the people who donate, sort, serve, and deliver food, acolytes, altar guild, flower guild, ushers, vestry members, homeless shelter volunteers, children’s Sunday school teachers, counselors, spiritual directors, lay Eucharistic visitors, pastoral care teams, mentors, and so many more. Community is cultivated through the faithful and reliable presence of those who give and serve, and lives are transformed when people are willing to show up and be a part of the movement of God in the world.
And also to you, the reader! Thank you! Thank you to each of you who shows up to learn and grow as Christians exploring life in the way of Jesus. Thank you for your faithfulness to God, your families, and your communities of faith.
Showing up can be very simple, but it can also be difficult to actually do. A variety of things can distract or lead us astray. However, Saint Matthias is our reminder to show up and strive towards reliability and faithfulness in our presence and witness.
The Feast of Saint Matthias does not offer anything flashy or fancy. It is a simple reminder: show up, be present.
What are the things that distract and prevent us from showing up?
What are the ways you model to your family or community a habit of showing up, being reliable?
Who is the Saint Matthias in your community? Who is an example to you of a faithful disciple or reliable servant?
Almighty God, who in the place of Judas chose your faithful servant Matthias to be numbered among the Twelve: Grant that your Church, being delivered from false apostles, may always be guided and governed by faithful and true pastors; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
[Image Credit: Property of Public Domain via Maitland F. Griggs Collection. Collect for Saint Matthias is used with permission from Church Publishing.]