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A Man Called Peter

I love to read biographies. Through biographies I have met many wonderful people. In biographies I have met Billy Sunday, (great baseball player turned evangelist),  John Wesley, C.H. Spurgeon.  In biographies we have the privilege of walking with giants. It was indeed a great moment when I discovered the great gift of a biography.

Chaplain Peter Marshall is the one who gets first place in my mind as I think about “great men of God” whom I have met through biographies. His story is remarkable yet his life was so short on this earth. He accomplished much in his forty-six years.

Peter Marshall immigrated to America from Scotland. He arrived at Ellis Island in New York harbor in 1927 at age twenty-five. After one year in New Jersey he moved south to Birmingham, Alabama. From there, members of his Sunday school class paid his way to seminary in Atlanta.He pastored Atlanta’s Westminster Presbyterian Church. His sharp wit, and keen fellowship with the Savior were an engaging combination. The church overflowed Sunday after Sunday.

It was in Atlanta that Marshall met and married Catherine Wood. She later chronicled his life in her book A Man Called Peter, later made into a successful movie of the same title.

God had great things ahead for Peter Marshall. He would soon become Chaplain Peter Marshall, appointed Chaplain of the U.S. Senate in 1947. President Franklin D. Roosevelt said, Peter Marshall’s zeal for God and unmatched eloquence in expressing His ways and character, has left an impression on Washington D.C. that will never leave.

An editorial in the Washington Evening Star captured the true spirit of Peter Marshall’s brief but impassioned ministry. “Living and working in Washington only eleven years, the Reverend Dr. Peter Marshall nevertheless has left his mark upon the whole city. He was a man of contagious spirit, eager and alert, quick to see opportunities of service and to meet their challenge....In classic language, he was a builder of the kingdom of God on this earth.” What a testimony to leave!

We all have a biography. There is a unique feature about our biography. Even though we all come from different backgrounds, vary in age and have different personalities and occupations, the title of our biographies is the same. The biography of every Christian is a story of grace. God’s amazing grace. Oh, the wonder of it all!