The fence depicted in the Memorial relates to a sermon preached for the first time by Mr Guthrie about 30 years ago. It was based on an observation made while he was walking to Church to conduct morning worship.
Erected with affection to the memory of John T. Guthrie M.A., J.P. by his many friends from within and outwith the parishes of Cullen & Deskford
While walking alongside a field in which sheep were grazing he noticed that the fence was in a dilapidated condition; many of the posts were sloping far from the vertical and a number were broken and hanging on the fence wires.
Despite its condition however; the fence was still functional for there were no spots where the sheep could stray onto the road.
When he reached the corner of the field he saw that the straining post was firmly fixed in place and all the wires on it were securely fastened and in tension.It was clear to him that the fence was effective through the strength of the straining post and because the weaker posts were being supported by the stronger ones, and so a sermon was developed.
In the short time that he had before morning service he replaced his prepared address by one inspired by the example of the straining post.
In the new sermon the posts represented individual members of a congregation with their own particular strengths and weaknesses, the wire representing the link holding members together in a common purpose, and the straining post, God using our strengths, helping us to overcome our weaknesses and so binding us together for His own purpose.
The fence is effective under the control of the straining post and similarly any group of Christians under God's guidance can become effective missionaries in a parish.
The sermon was much appreciated and was widely discussed within the Congregation and Mr Guthrie was asked frequently to retell it, thus over the years a new generation of worshippers heard and appreciated the message of the Straining Post.
At the last service he conducted he chose to preach this sermon and in a preface he said: "If I were to be remembered by just one of the many sermons I have preached during my long ministry in Cullen the 'Sermon of the Straining Post' would be my choice."