By Judy Brandon: Local columnist
Sometimes simple and seemingly insignificant words leave permanent impressions and stay in our memory for a long time. For years, I have remembered a woman who said something to me when I was a young girl. At just a very young age, this woman helped me look within myself and my relationship with God.
Mrs. Cain was my fifth-grade Sunday school teacher in the junior department at church. I thought she was much too serious and needed to lighten up a little around us fifth-grade girls. But now her words are very clear in my mind.
It was during Bible school one summer. That’s when vacation Bible school lasted two entire weeks, and memorizing scripture, playing Bible games and studying the Bible were activities packed into a single morning.
On this day, we had been studying some Biblical character, and the teachers always tried to relate the daily Bible stories to the young students in their charge. I was leaving with the other girls to get to the refreshments and then on to outside recreation. Mrs. Cain stopped me and asked me to stay behind.
My first thought was, “What did I do?” I tended to socialize too much and thought I was in for a scolding.
But she surprised me. She said something like this to me: “Judy, God has given your capabilities. He expects you to use those in your lifetime.”
That was not really profound. No lightning came down, and I heard no voice from heaven but it lit a spark in my youthful heart and soul.
Today I realize that few people would probably remember Mrs. Cain and her husband, Otto. Mrs. Cain and Mr. Cain made vast contributions to the kingdom of God. Many children went through the junior department where they encountered Sunday after Sunday her thoughtful teaching, even though ever so solemn. She took her Sunday school duties quite seriously.
What Mrs. Cain taught me was to think on a deeper level. She placed a thought in my mind — not to stand with the crowd but to come out and stand out of the crowd.
The Easter season has gone. The prominent characters of that resurrection story are known to all. Peter denied Jesus, Judas betrayed Jesus, John and Mary stood at the base of the cross in loyalty and Joseph of Arimathea used his resources to provide a burial place for the Savior.
But one resurrection character we don’t note as much is Simon of Cyrene. He came from out of the crowd to shoulder the cross for Jesus. The principle of standing for Christ by coming out of the crowd is what Mrs. Cain meant. That is what Simon did — it was then and now what any of us who call ourselves Christians should do.
Standing out does not necessarily mean doing great deeds for thousands to see. Standing out of the crowd means showing kindness and going by one’s convictions. It means pointing others to Christ with a quite and servant lifestyle that causes others to want to know Him.
Standing out means reaching out to those less desirable to the world but those same ones who mean the world to Jesus.
We can all be like Simon of Cyrene. Whatever the occasion and wherever we go, we all have the chance to carry the cross of Jesus like Simon when we reach out to others in his name. That is a good Easter thought that will last all year long.
Judy Brandon is an instructor at Clovis Community College. Contact her at: