Jeff Cavins, recognised both nationally and internationally as one of the most effective and engaging speakers in the Church today, was in attendance at the Waterfront Hall, Belfast on Saturday 21st November 2015 for the Down and Connor Living Church Event, ‘The Bible: Our Everlasting Story.’
Sian, Ciara, Aisleigh and Oliver, four AS RE students from St Killian’s College Garron Tower, along with their teachers, attended the event.
When we entered the hall we were not quite sure what to expect. We were amazed at the crowds of people waiting excitedly for the event to begin and, of course, to catch a glimpse of the main speaker, Jeff Cavins, who after twelve years as a Protestant pastor, returned to the Catholic Church. The day kicked off with some music and Morning Prayer. Then the moment we had all been waiting for, the arrival of Jeff Cavins!
The day was split up into four main themes
• Abraham: Father of Faith
• David: Warrior and Worshipper
• Jesus: The Rabbi who fulfills and calls us to follow
• The Church: God’s family in the world.
Studying Scripture is never easy but Jeff explained with clarity and shared his teachings in a very personal manner, making us feel that we can still live as followers of Jesus despite him not being with us in the flesh. Many of these analogies, some which we will share with you, will remain with us as realistic reminders of how to live out our Christian lives.
One memorable story was that of the ten lepers who had been healed by Jesus. Only one of these men returned to thank Jesus for what he had done. The question that stuck with us was ‘Are you one of the nine or are you the one who returned to give thanks?’ We imagine this statement brought some guilt to many of us gathered that day as often we take our faith and blessings for granted.
Another story which grabbed our attention was the one of the man walking across Niagara Falls on a tightrope. The crowd cheered as he safely reached the other side. He then asks if they think he can do it again, this time blindfolded. They shout, ‘Yes, we believe, we believe!’ He succeeds and the crowd erupts with joy! He then asks if they think he can do it again, this time pushing a wheelbarrow. They shout, ‘Yes, we believe you can, we believe!’ Silence descends when he asks for a volunteer to get into the wheelbarrow that he will push across the tightrope. The message gained from this story is that very often we are good at paying lip service to our faith but not so willing to put it into practice. Remember, actions speak louder than words!
Having complete trust in God was the theme of the next story. When he was a young boy being bullied by older boys in his neighbourhood, Jeff had complete faith that all he had to do was scream out for his Dad and he would come running to his aid, and sure enough, his Dad rescued him from his frightening ordeal. This is the trust we should have in God our Father too.
At the end of this inspiring day, Jeff left us with the question ‘Will your tomorrow be any different to your yesterday?’ This was the motivation we needed to leave the Waterfront Hall and to ‘get into the wheelbarrow’ with a renewed sense of enthusiasm for the Good News.
Fortunately, we were privileged to meet Jeff after the event and to have our photograph taken with him. He shook our hands and wished us well in our studies, encouraging us to go out to try to be Christ’s hands and feet in our homes, school and communities.