Sermon Delivered By Rev. Telford D. Matthew
At a Funeral Service, at the Gingerland Methodist Church
On Tuesday November 24, 2015
The passage of Scripture is taken from the Psalms: Psalm 34: 18:
“The Lord is near to the broken-hearted, and saves the crushed
In spirit” (v.18).
The Text: is the said verse 18 of Psalm 34.
The Theme: The Presence Of God.
Good afternoon my brothers and sisters. It is good to see how you have come out to show your support for the bereaved family, and friends, and also to pay your last respects to our departed brother.
This is a very difficult time for the Walters family. You are in pain, sorrow and grief because you have lost your loved one. Your pain is even harder to bear when we consider the manner of your loss. But do not lose heart. Take courage and know that God is there to help you.
On behalf of the officers, members and Minister of the Gingerland Methodist Church, and also on behalf of my wife, family and myself, we extend our deepest sympathy to you the bereaved family, friends and loved ones of our late brother. May God strengthen and support you in this your time of trouble.
With the death of Kercell, another life has been taken from us; another brutal murder has occurred. A young man has been gunned-down. Blood has been scattered on the streets in Gingerland and in Nevis.
The blood of the dead cry out against such gruesome acts and violence. In fact such behavior amount to the highest level of inhumanity. Man is relegated to a thing: like a dog or cat you can knock down at will. The young man was treated as if he was worth nothing.
This shameful and deplorable behavior is nothing short of barbaric. According to one Philosopher, “man is a wolf unto man.” Man is ready to tear his brother apart. This is what is meant when the Bible states, “man’s heart is desperately wicked” (Gen. 6:5).
Is this what a once peaceful, loving and caring society has come to? That instead of persons going about their business peacefully, they must live in fear, looking over their shoulders and around to see if someone is about to attack them?
When will this evil and wickedness end? For even now while we are having this funeral service here, there is someone else who has been gunned-down.
Brothers and sisters, this surge of savagery and brutality calls for citizens and serious-minded people to wake up and do something. The call to do something does not mean that you should take the law into your own hands and give an “eye for an eye.” No! If you do that you will get into trouble with the law. Besides, that’s not right, nor is it Christian or godly behavior.
But you can rise up, come together in a number of ways to fight against this terrible wave of evil and violence. You can come together in:
1. Protest: A march throughout Nevis showing your disgust against such murders and acts of violence, demanding justice. Let it be known enough is enough. You want an end to this evil.
2. Come together in Prayer: Our people talk too much, but when the time comes for us to unite you can’t find them. Now is the time for us to make our presence felt. As a Christian Community, we must come together for a common cause, in Prayer. We are sleeping too much. We must wake up and come together to pray. Remember prayer changes a multitude of things. This evil in our society must stop. Let us take a stand for that to happen.
3. Organize Watch-Dog Groups: In each community we need to have such groups organized to work for the protection and preservation of our societies and island as a whole. We must find a way to get the communities geared up to fight this evil that has gotten out of hand.
4. Meet- the Residents Sessions: These are sessions or meetings designed for interacting with persons in different areas where you have young men and maybe women too, hanging out doing nothing every day. They are just there idle. Once they are idle evil thoughts and ideas will flood their hearts and minds. We need to engage them. Find out what concerns they have and what if anything can be done to help them. Maybe some of them just need a little attention.
5. Rest Our Case With God: This is the most important thing. You need to rest your case with God and know that with Him all is well. The text informs us that He is there to help you in your difficulty.
There are those who suggest that even if God knows and understands what we are going through, He is unable to help us in our troubles. One Rabbi Kushner holds that view, and so do many other people. But that’s not true.
The Bible refutes such thinking. In fact the text for today strongly suggests that God is able to help us. Note what is said; “God is present, near, to the broken-hearted.”
Now there are many broken hearts in this congregation today. The bereaved family, friends and loved ones; indeed everyone at this service I believe is broken in heart and spirit over what has happened with this death, and also with all the other killings, including the one yesterday.
What is happening in Nevis and the Federation is sad. It is a terrible turn of events that must be halted sooner rather than later.
Maybe the only persons who are not saddened by the evil that’s taking place in the Federation are those persons that are carrying out criminal activity. And I believe they are tormented in their spirits. They cannot sleep easy. They must be restless, because they too are looking to see who is coming after them.
To such persons who are bent on behaving wickedly, they may think that they are invincible; that no one can get to or touch them. But know this, God saw you when you pulled the trigger. And while you may hide or escape the law-enforcement authorities, you cannot hide from God. For the Psalmist reminds us, concerning this God Almighty,
“Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.
If I take the wings of the morning and settle at farthest limits of the sea,
Even there your hand shall lead me and your right hand shall hold me fast”
(Psalm 139: 7- 10).
We cannot hide from God. He sees and knows everything, and has the power to do all things. We cannot escape His presence. So since God is near and sees all things, the best thing to do is to submit to Him. Give your heart to Jesus.
God is there to help you. He will help those that are causing trouble that their lives may be changed. But especially for you the broken hearted, the Lord will mend your hearts. Therefore, do not give up. Instead, trust God to help you overcome your troubles. May the Lord bless and strengthen you as you continue to mourn and grieve. Take courage.