Thank you for your prayers for me and my family during our time of bereavement. God is good! He provided traveling grace to me, my husband, and to my family who traveled from New York to the wonderful homegoing celebration of my aunt Louise Smith on Monday, October 24th, Mars Hill Baptist Church, Dallas, Georgia. The pastor, Rev. Robert Bryant officiated. Mars Hill is the oldest African American church in Paulding County, Georgia. It was founded in 1866 and is 145 years old. My uncle John Smith, aunt Louise's husband was laid to rest there a few years ago.
Aunt Louise was the matriarch of our family on my mother's side. She was 94. Our foreparents endured much, sacrificed their very lives to path the way for the freedoms we enjoy, and take for granted. Louise Smith was born September 21, 1917 at a time when the legacy of slavery, segregation and discrimination weighed heavily on black america.
I was blessed with the awesome assignment of delivering the eulogy. The Lord gave me a passage in the book of Romans on that super highway to heaven, the Roman Road. The message was entitled, I Shall Live And Not Die, based on Romans 10:13, "For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." I stated that there is a time to be born and a time to die, a time to weep and a time to mourn (Ecclesiates 3:1-4). Approximately 1,700 have died in the war in Afghanistan and 4,500 have died in the war in Iraq.Death happens to us all, Michael Jackson, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Dorothy Height, Osama Bin Laden, Muammar Gaddafi, and Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth who was eulogized on October 24th as well.
There are two ways we can respond to death, in time and in eternity. We can respond to death in time by making preparations for death. Though we are siting in our padded pews, we are in transit. We are going somewhere. We are going to die. We need to gather policies, make funeral arrangements early and not put it off. Confusion happens and burden is placed on surviving family members when we don't act responsibly and prepare for death. Secondly, we need to grieve responsibilty. We need to stop telling our boys and males, "Big boys don't cry," "Real men don't cry." That is a lie from hell. David, Abraham, Hezekiah, Joseph, Jeremiah, Peter, and Jesus all cried. I quoted my pastor, Rev. Kevin Cosby who stated in the sermon, When You Just Can't Get Over It, "We have faith and we have feelings... We need a cry room for adults and well as for babies, a place to deal with unresolved pain and hope...Grief is the emotional sorrow caused by the loss of anyone or anything we have a strong emotional attachment to."
We prepare for death in time, and we should prepare for death in eternity. Louise Smith was a godly woman, a loving and devoted sister, mother, grandmother, great grandmother, aunt, great aunt, friend and devoted wife to one husband for 65 years. Not only was she all these things, she was wise beyond her years. She called on the name of the Lord in her youth, confessed Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and dared to declare in the face of racism, depression, wars, sickness and disease, "I shall live and not die!" She dealt with death in time too, saying "I will bless the Lord at all times. His praises shall continually be in my mouth....(Psalm 34). Hers was a Christian faith that declared, "The Lord is my light and my salvation, Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life, of whom shall I be afraid?..(Psalm 27). Louise Smith called on the Lord at an early age in Pineland, South Carolina, long before she made it to New York, New Jersey, and Georgia. She knew, as Marvin Sapp sings, she never woulda made it without the Lord. She woulda lost it all.
We can travel the super highway to heaven, along Route 66, the 66 books of the Bible, and particularly the Roman Road,
and dare to declare, "I shall live and not die."
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The following song by gospel artist Denise McCoy, midday host at Praise 102.5 in Atlanta, although not used at the homegoing, is fitting. It is entitled, I Shall Live And Not Die.
Thank you again for your prayers and participation here in even my absence! You all are a true blessing!
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