Friday, March 02, 2018

Candid Cathy — Breaking New Ground

Candid Cathy*? By the word candid I mean transparent, open and honest. 
Credit: UpTo
King of Kings Elementary Scl

Following a brief introduction, she ascended the several steps to the platform and then took her place behind the podium. Her face appeared relaxed and her eyes bright. As is characteristic of her, a smile played around her mouth, raising her cheeks. She began to speak.

My friend Cathy abandoned the faith of her childhood for several decades. During those years she experienced two failed marriages, the second of which included the sting of her husband’s unfaithfulness and the disappearance and murder of her step-daughter, and also two episodes with cancer that necessitated surgery and treatments. Following her father’s death, Cathy recommitted her life to Christ.
I first met her during her recovery from yet a third bout of cancer, which required further surgery and debilitating treatments. Severe hardships, disappointments and set-backs have come Cathy’s way, yet she has continued to grow, tackling fresh challenges and aiming at new horizons in  serving others in Jesus’ name.  

[Sorry, I don't have a photo of Cathy,

but the girl to my right has occasionally
preached in my behalf over the years.]

Several weeks ago, at the first of this year’s six inter-denominational Lenten services in my community, this intrepid lady, Cathy,  – now in her late sixties – broke new ground.

She is at ease in organizing children’s programs and teaching and communicating with kids; however, preaching a homily on an assigned topic to adults from across the age and theological spectrum in the crowded sanctuary of another church, was something new.
After introducing her message with a humorous, but relevant, anecdote, she then connected with the Scripture and gave a beautifully-crafted, well-presented presentation of Jesus’ divinity. Her text verse was John 1:1 – “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”  She linked this up with other Scriptures, such as in first chapter of the Hebrews letter.

In well-paced steps she showed why it was necessary that God Himself should provide for the salvation and redemption of humanity from the curse of sin, through His sacrificial death. 
And so, the living, eternal Word – the perfect and exact substance and expression of God Himself – came into the world in the person of Jesus, to live and love, suffer and die. Verse 14 is one of my favourites: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. . . .” (John 1:14a NIV). (Not to forget His resurrection, of course, for that part was to come later in the season.) 
Cathy’s presentation was clear and cogent. My word – you’d think she’d been preaching for decades! I thought.
I enjoy sketching elements of individuals’ lives – especially of people I know or have known personally. But why?

When my mental, emotional and spiritual gaze gets raised in appreciation, gratitude and wonder, at admirable qualities and actions that inspire and reflect God’s love and grace, I hope and pray that others will experience these blessings, too.
In her public preaching debut Cathy broke new ground. 
She continues to inspire others and raise their gaze –
including mine.
* Pseudonym to protect privacy.

Peter A. Black is a retired pastor – well, sort of retired – and lives in Southwestern Ontario. He writes a weekly inspirational newspaper column, P-Pep! and is author of Raise Your Gaze ... Mindful Musings of a Grateful Heart, and Parables from the Pond -- a children's / family book. ~~+~~


Rose McCormick Brandon said...

Always inspiring Peter. You nailed it again. Stories like Cathy's remind me again of God's amazing love. I never get tired of hearing how God changes people.

Peter Black said...

Thanks Rose. Yes, good news stories of grace and faith that overcome elevate my spirit and make the telling worthwhile. My prayer is that readers, especially those facing trials in life, will receive encouragement and renewed hope in Jesus. ~~+~~

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