2 Timothy 4:1-8 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I solemnly urge you: proclaim the message; be persistent whether the time is favorable or unfavorable; convince, rebuke, and encourage, with the utmost patience in teaching. For the time is coming when people will not put up with sound doctrine, but having itching ears, they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own desires, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander away to myths. As for you, always be sober, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, carry out your ministry fully. As for me, I am already being poured out as a libation, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. From now on there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
**************************************************************************** The scripture I just read to you is a letter from a teacher to a student. Though written in the name of Paul, the Apostle, this letter was probably written not by Paul himself, but by one of his students. The teacher writes in the most emphatic tone he or she can create with a pen. The teacher writes with, and in the name of the highest authority he or she knows- the presence of God and of Christ Jesus.
"Please, please listen to my words," says the teacher. She knows this may be the last letter she is privy to write; the last chance she has to dole out knowledge to her star pupil.
Her final instructions to her men-tee? Proclaim the message (tell the truth) be persistent (because there will be hard times when you want to quit) convince, rebuke and encourage (use all the things I've taught you) with the utmost patience in teaching.
The teacher writes of times to come, when students will try to take shortcuts, turn to myths instead of the truth- when they will stop questioning, stop trying to figure things out for themselves and just take other's word for the way the world works. The teacher tells her student- Be sober- tough it out-keep working to the best of your ability.
Sound like anyone you know?
I never got to meet Cathy, but the way she in which has been described to me, the things i have read about her, the stories that were shared here today, this could be her letter. Her life was tough. No doubt about it. Her personality was, from what i understand and for lack of a better term, sober. And she found, just like the Apostle Paul, a passion later in life that led her into questioning, and study, and finally teaching.
When others were turning to myths or dare I say religion to explain things of the world, Cathy took the path of science. When others spoke of connection of the people, Cathy knew there was connection of all living things.... and she relished that connection in her work, her family, and her music. Cathy lived in the world of what's possible- and she lived in her own unique way.
In today's world my friends, this is truly something to be admired. Far from falling in with trends or running after the latest greatest, or even keeping up with there peers who probably encouraged her to retire, Cathy just kept on going... doing what she loved, being who she was. I know that sometimes we're taught to blend in, or fit in, or taught to adhere to certain social graces, or put on a face that everything is ok all the time. And often we don't say what's on our mind, we keep things in or stay in situations that stop us from growing into everything we were designed to be.
But that's not what we are called to do- we are called to be our authentic unique selves- to discover what our passion is, to uncover our gifts, and to use them to make the world a better place. This is exactly what Cathy did- and you know what? People didn't always agree with her, but she stuck to who she was... she did was she was called to do- and what a gift to her students and to the rest of you who knew her and got to watch that. And for her family, it may not have been easy at times.... when someone lives in their passion and does what they are truly called to do, that sometimes is the sacrifice... as the Apostle Paul explains.
But what a beautiful legacy... and I know enough about Cathy by now to know that she would entreat all of us to do the same. To keep proclaiming (in other words, doing what you love) keep questioning... keep figuring things out... keep discovering... keep singing... and keep living life to the fullest. AMen