And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:6 English Standard Version)
April 16, 2023, was a very special Sunday at St. John’s not only because it was Holy Humor Sunday and the Second Sunday of Easter, but because it was the celebration of a second chance at life for Missy Baney, a member of St. John’s.
On April 20, 2017, Missy Baney’s journey through the valley of the shadow began when she received the diagnosis that she had Stage 4 metastatic cancer in her lungs, liver, brain and spine. She was told that she might live from nine months to three years. Missy prepared herself mentally and spiritually for departure from this earth as the cancer continued to invade her body. Missy also fought relentlessly, enduring rounds of chemo and radiation treatments as well as serious medical complications. At one point, she was pronounced “deceased” by the medical team.
Her battle persisted until….After having completed a regimen of tests earlier this year, on April 10, her oncologist made the following declaration: “Missy, you are a miracle! You are 100% cancer free!” he exclaimed, as he looked her straight in the eyes. The scans and tests found no further cancer anywhere in her body. No one, to the oncologist’s knowledge, had ever survived the extreme challenges that Missy endured these past six years. Hearing the oncologist’s words, Missy’s mind ran the gamut of emotions from disbelief to exceeding joy. After regaining her composure, Missy replied apprehensively, “Oh My! What Now?” The “What Now” is Missy’s continuing story as her new life unfolds. (“Never place a period where God has placed a comma. God is still speaking.”)*
During the “Joys” portion of the worship service on April 16, Missy was invited to ring the steeple bell at St. John’s to celebrate her very special second chance at life. The congregation listened with rapt attention as the bell pealed joyfully. When Missy re-entered the sanctuary, Pastor Jeremy whooped exuberantly and asked the congregation to rise and give Missy a standing ovation. It was a glorious moment!
As Missy stated, “God has a wonderful sense of humor.” And Holy Humor Sunday was the perfect time to celebrate Missy’s new life. Indeed, our God is a God of second chances, and we give God the glory.