Marvin Repinski: A good word for Christianity

Published 5:32 pm Friday, April 21, 2023

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Years ago there was a young medical student in London. He had already reached the intern stage of his training and was planning to do the conventional thing — settle down in London and work up a nice practice.  

He was a good student with a pleasing personality who found it easy to get along with people.  He was a decent young man, but without particularly deep convictions about anything.  That year Dwight L. Moody was on tour of the British Isles.  

One day, the student, on his way back from out-patient duty, dropped in to hear the evangelist.  Moody in a quiet way at the conclusion of his message, called for public commitment to Christ. To the young man it seemed a sensible thing to accept the challenge.  He stood up.  He didn’t let the matter stop there.  

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He changed his life’s plans, deciding to invest his skill as a physician where the need was more pressing than in London.  He chose to work among the poor fishermen of Labrador’s coastline. The world came to know that student as Sir Wilfred Grenfell, the missionary doctor. 

Grenfell had no way of knowing it would turn out that way.  Usually, dedication does not bring fame.  Albert Schweitzer, who made a similar decision years ago, didn’t know either what the outcome would be. Both turned their backs upon what men and women normally go after.  It is their boundless love, not the fact that the world has honored them, which makes them great souls.  What is the meaning of the life of a Grenfell or a Schweitzer, or of the lives of countless, anonymous individuals who follow high goals, forgo position, pleasure, or advantage for the sake of someone who needs them?  It is this class Jesus pictured:  “As you did it to one of the least of these brethren, you did it to me.”

Within the Christian history, we study and discover the many people who practice an admirable vocation, a noted self-sacrifice, and creating assistance in new ways.  Don’t forget, figures in other religions, outstanding devout leaders, have advanced nearly impossible healing creations. 

Our recognition of people who go beyond the familiar satisfaction and meet their basic needs is admirable.  In the tough going of people, for instance, in living in shacks or suffering during the results of war, there remains caring hearts.  They bind up the wounded.  Also, it is to a bothered conscience that we are voted for and compliment ways being done to alleviate the conditions that lead to impoverished tent cities and homeless camps.

A child’s booklet, “What is a Rainbow?” speaks to me.  The animals that are in conversation give answers to the question:  What makes a rainbow?” One answer is a prism.  An explanation:  “As the sun’s rays shine through the prism, the light is bent.  As the light bends, it splits into many colors.  In the sunlight there are many colors.”

A further teaching continues the answer:  “As the sun’s rays shine through the prism, the light is bent.  As the light bends, it splits into many colors.  The same thing happens when the sunlight shines through the rain, there are many colors.”  And a joyful response is heard: “The beautiful rainbow!”

Applications that may bring bright colors into our lives are many.  In reading the book by Thomas J. Billitteri, some interesting history is supplied:  “Before there were hospitals, test tubes, or pharmacies, people turned to nature and folk traditions to stay healthy and to cure sickness. Native American and eastern healers used herbs, shrubs, tree bark, and plant oils to mend wounds, stop pain and ward off disease.”  

This list is only a partial view of the therapies practiced  that are yet, in some areas of the world.  One must acknowledge that alternative medicine may be misunderstood, sometimes abused, or with little guidance and practiced with some risk. 

What we may cite in the manner of the methods and practices, to address health needs are many; they may be seen as rainbows of hope!

First United Methodist Church members, with a number of Austin area churches, are participating in a Lunch Tray Project.   Members of churches are assisting in the sponsorship of children’s luncheons served in area schools.  It should be noted that dozens of volunteers give time, talents, and funding to a variety of services that uplift the learning abilities of the children.


Thou Head and Savior of Thy body, the Church;

Unite all the children of God in one spirit;

Hinder all schisms and offenses;

Put far from Thy people all deceivers;

Bring back all that have erred or are deceived;

Grant love and unity to all our churches;

Give to our pastors and teachers, sound doctrine that molds character.

Grant by reason, the seeking of virtue.

Help all church officers to rule well; and may every steward of things spiritual or temporal be faithful,

not only in that which is much, but also in that which is least.

Preserve each member through truth, that conscience may honor. 

Grant that all of us, in every age and station, may enjoy the powerful and sanctifying merits of Thy Holy humanity,

and create acceptable hearts for Thee.