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  • Sarah Raad

Second

“‘Because you have seen Me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’” (John 20:29).

Christ and Saint Thomas (Verrocchio)

I am the eldest child in my family. And because of this, I was the first to finish school, I was the first to graduate from university, I also happened to be the first to marry and have children (though I was closely followed by another couple of sisters).


I like being the first person in my family to do things. I am used to being in this position. And yet, over the last couple of days, I have been thinking about the time I came SECOND – not first – and upon reflection, there is something beautiful about being SECOND as well…


When we think of a movement or a revolutionary change, we often think about the leader of the movement and the first followers of the movement. You see, Christ was the LEADER, and His apostles were the FIRST followers in the Movement of Salvation...


But lately, I have been thinking not about the FIRST followers, but about the SECOND followers… You see, a movement is not a movement until there is more than just a leader and first followers because a movement is made a MOVEMENT by the SECOND followers…


“Then Jesus said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here and look at My hands. Reach out your hand and put it into My side. Stop doubting and believe.’ Thomas replied, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Jesus said to him, ‘Because you have seen Me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’” (John 20:27-29).


And those SECOND followers are the “blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29)!


And I have been reflecting very much on who those SECOND followers were. You see, those SECOND followers – those people who allowed the Holy Spirit to work through them – were the people who turned the Mission of Christ into a MOVEMENT! And those people included disciples like the Evangelists, Saints Luke and Paul…

Saint Luke and Saint Paul – who both contributed so prolifically to the Bible – did not meet Christ during His lifetime. They did not follow Him and were not present at His crucifixion, and though they were not FIRST followers of Christ, these two were His SECOND followers!

And this is interesting to me. You see, I used to think that I needed to be the best and finish first to make a difference in the world... But through disciples such as these I can see that sometimes when we submit to God’s Will and become SECOND, even more can be accomplished! You see, it was the testimony of the SECOND followers – delivered based on their FAITH in Christ as the Risen Lord – that helped the First Followers (the apostles) to spread the Good News of God!


Tradition dictates that the Upper Room, where the Christ celebrated the Passover Feast the night before He died, was owned by the parents of Saint Mark, which shows that Saint Mark the Evangelist met Christ and spent time with Him during His life. And Saint Mark wrote Christ’s instruction in his gospel, “‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation’... And they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that attended it.” (Mark 16:15-20).


Saint Paul wrote to Timothy – shortly before his execution – asking for Saint Mark to come to him, “Get Mark and bring him with you; for he is very useful in serving me.” (2 Timothy 4:11). You see, SECOND followers require the assistance of the FIRST! We each serve our purpose…


And I have been reflecting on that as I go about my day.


You see, for once I have finished SECOND. I was not the first conversion in my family – I was the SECOND…


I have come to observe that conversion often happens in family-groups. One family member receives the Grace of conversion, and – in a way – they become the FIRST follower of Christ. They start to pray more and talk about God more. Soon, their loved ones start to notice a change in them. They appear more at ease – more peaceful – after all, peace is the FRUIT of faith! And over time – through Grace – the Holy Spirit spreads throughout a family…


This is how it happened with us… One of my sisters experienced a conversion – just quietly and on her own. I watched her and wondered at her madness – she was a lone-nut in my mind. But soon – despite all my best efforts to resist – I caught the Grace of God from her and through her prayers… And though she was FIRST, I came SECOND…


And today I have been praying in thanksgiving for though I was no FIRST follower of Christ – I came SECOND… And how glorious is the Grace of such a conversion, if it be the Will of God! How utterly glorious…


For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.

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