Friday, January 18, 2013

Another Man of Faith

A Man Called Peter Poster

We had a built in book case in what we called the middle room with glass doors. Shelves of books stared out, dull in colors, like brown or subdued green, with the titles simply printed in gold or black on the spines. A Man Called Peter caught my attention as a small girl. I thought it was about the apostle Peter. I never read it at home and I don't even know where those books are now.
I ran into Catherine Marshall's writings and bit of her history, reading my mother's Guideposts, and later getting them as a Christmas present in my early marriage years. Then I heard of their son, Peter Marshall and his writings of the Christian beginnings of our country  A book From Sea to Shining Sea is one name that stuck in my mind. He even came to Sharon Stadium for Mercer County's two hundredth anniversary. He spoke about the Revolutionary hero, Hugh Mercer of whom this county is named.
One day I was in a bookstore and saw this DVD. Having been filmed in 1955 and not one of those popular movies, the price was reasonable. I bought it, to see what the book on the shelf those years ago was about.
For the obvious flaws of a 1955 film, it enchanted me. Yes, even though set in the 30's and 40's, the women's fashions were the 50's. The Naval Academy scenes, on location,  highlight the sermon he felt he had to preach on death and dying given to the midshipmen on the morning of December 7, 1941.
I felt this movie portrayed real Christ followers. Peter preached a carpenter Jesus, who loved fun, not a meek and mild, mamby pamby man. Praying is a major part of their life, with vulnerability in prayers for healing. Being compliant in God's hands and surrender can also lead to healing.
The book, Catherine wrote about her first husband is of course much richer. The movie, though, is close in the feel of Peter, true to her writing. As I read of his death of a massive heart attack at age 46, in 1949, I  thought, Oh, if only he could have lived in our time. We can do much more for heart disease now.
Peter, though, lived and couldn't live the life of an invalid. He prayed boldly in the US Senate as their chaplin.
I'm sure today, he would be too sure of his Christianity to be allowed to pray on Capitol Hill.
I used some of his sermon quotes in my mother's funeral about heaven and resurrection.  I admired his teachings, amazed at how they are still relevant to today from the 1930's and 40's.

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