March is Women’s History Month or should I say Women’s Her-story Month. The Tuesday and Friday posts this month will feature women who lead lives that could serve as models for us in our Christian walk. It was difficult to narrow the list for the few dates in March but I did try to find some women you may not know very well and women writers. Enjoy!
The last hymn we sang on Sunday – Beneath the Cross of Jesus – contained words that lingered within me.
Slowly read some of the lines:
Beneath the cross of Jesus I long to take my stand….
and from my contrite heart, with tears, two wonders I confess; the wonder of his glorious love and my unworthiness…
I take O cross, your shadow for my abiding place; I ask no other sunshine than the sunshine of his face.
The whole hymn swelled as a prayer within me.
Who wrote these meaningful words of devotion to Christ? I never heard of her before: Elizabeth Clephane.
Elizabeth Cecelia Douglas Clephane (1830-1869) was born in Edinburgh, but lived most of her life in Melrose, near the home of Sir Walter Scott. Despite her physical frailties, she was known throughout her community for her helpful, cheery nature. Yet within the limits of her strength she served the poor and sick of her community, and she and her sisters gave to charity all they did not actually require for their daily needs. Throughout the Melrose area Elizabeth was affectionately known to the townspeople as “the sunbeam.”
Elizabeth enjoyed writing poems and had several published in a Scottish Presbyterian Magazine entitled The Family Treasury. However, the majority of her writings appeared anonymously in this magazine in 1872, three years after her early death at the age of thirty-nine. “Beneath the Cross of Jesus” was written in 1868, one year before her death.
Isn’t it amazing how one person’s words written in solitude by one who lived a simple, quiet life with no major headlines, best selling books or world changing sermons – continue to touch us today? We go through life never realizing how we affect others. And this past Sunday, Elizabeth Clephane enriched my life and brought me closer to Christ.
I join her in confessing my “wonder of his glorious love and my unworthiness.”