Tuesday, May 29, 2007

To Live Again - Catherine Marshall

It’s sometimes surprising to discover, or in my case rediscover, an old book which speaks so clearly into our own times. At the moment I’m re-reading a copy of Catherine Marshall’s book "To live again" and have been struck by the appropriateness of a quote from one of her husband Peter’s sermons.

Peter Marshall, a young Scotsman who became chaplain of the U.S. senate, had an outstanding preaching ministry, which was cut short when he died at the age of 46. His widow Catherine subsequently put together a book of his sermons entitled "Mr Jones, Meet the Master". Catherine quotes from one of his most popular sermons, ‘Keepers of the Springs’;

The emancipation of womanhood began with Christianity and ends with Christianity…When women in this country achieved equality with men, it was accomplished only by stepping down from the pedestal on which Christianity, chivalry, and idealism had placed her… So she copied the vices of men – in the name of progress! It is not progress to go down in a downward direction. It is not progress to lower and to lose ideals!

No woman ever became lovelier by losing her essential femininity... America needs young women who will build true homes, whether they live in two rooms – or ten… whether starched white organdie curtains hang at the windows – or silk damask...We need homes where harassed husbands may find peace, understanding, refreshment of body and soul…Where children may find the warmth of love…Where friends may find hospitality, graciousness and joy.

Only out of such homes will go men with strength and courage to …build a new and better world. To make such homes is, therefore, any woman’s supreme contribution to her country and to her generation.

At times when we hear reports of young women falling into binge-drinking and other kinds of behaviour, which have usually been the territory of men, this is a timely reminder that compromising our God-given femininity is not for anyone’s benefit. Peter’s words speak volumes to today’s society, where the role of wife, mother and homemaker has become desperately under-valued. Many women, whether temporarily at home with children, or permanently so by choice, can find it hard to admit that they are not out in the workplace, with a job title, bringing home wages. Yet Catherine Marshall sums up her view like this;

There might well have been some conflict between Peter and me over his strong views on the role of women in marriage, had I not discovered early in our life together that putting these ideas into practice brought me joy and satisfaction at a deep level. Such non-feminist ideas meant that I was single-minded in the marriage relationship. I was not a divided personality, and no effort was made to channel any part of it in other directions. Nor was any of this hardship or a sacrifice…For I was discovering for myself during those years the profound truth of that ancient and inexorable law that “he who loseth his life shall find it”.

By celebrating and living out our God-given femininity, we are serving “the Master” in a way that pleases him and brings help and healing to a hurting world. Girls – let’s not be scared to be different!


His Proverbs31 Sparrow said...

How wonderful to read words of Catherine Marshall, an almost long-forgotten Christian woman and author. I can remember my mother reading books of hers when I was growing up. What a wonderful post, and what wise words Catherine had about womanhood.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing this. By the grace of God, it was eye opening to read.

(((((HUGS))))) sandi said...

BEAUTIFUL! ((((HUGS))))) sandi