Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Oakwood Opens Church to Community Funeral

I got this as an email from my "brother" Bobby. I thought it deserved sharing.

The second of four funerals for students killed when a school bus plummeted over a highway overpass in Huntsville, Ala earlier this week (11/20/06) was held Saturday morning.

Natasha Lee, 17, was one of four girls who died when the bus went over a guardrail and dropped 30 feet to the ground.

Forty Lee High School students and Scott (bus driver) were on the school bus Monday morning when a car came up on a side lane and evidently hit the bus.

This rest of this story will probably never be on CNN but I want to share it you my relatives and friends. I attended the funeral. No, I didn't know this young lady. I was in town visiting my brother's family. There are some events that touches your heart and reaffirms that society has a good heart. . . .

Oakwood College Church of Seventh-day Adventist. Oakwood College Church CANCELLED their worship service to host the funeral of this young lady that didn't have a church home. That is truly unheard of. It has given me new strength in the Adventist Church. Too often we TALK the talk but sometimes do not WALK the WALK. For this reason, I chose to attend the funeral to support the family. Now all believers were not rejoicing of this act of love opening up to the community====not having 'church service'=====. I think of the text in Luke 14 where Jesus was questioned about doing good (healing people) on the Sabbath. He didn't answer at first, but simply said, "It is lawful to?..." He checked the Pharisees and they didn't say anything not wanting to be trapped in their answers. There was at least two members of Oakwood Church who didn't get the word and arrived at the church for Sabbath School. They voiced how upset they were that it was canceled for a funeral and went away boiling. Are we about service or not?

In a nutshell, this is what I experienced: The viewing of the body was between 9-10. There were choirs from various SDA Churches, soloists, instrumentalist, duets that gave a continued musical without any introductions of the groups. I was fueled before the service even begun.

The one hour service was filled with hope and inspiration. Good music, and good words. The Academy Choir sang two numbers performing it as if they were in Madison Square Garden. A high school school and a college student sang "A Better Day" making it sound like a brand new song. I almost went up for an uncalled altar called after they were finished. It was powerful. The eulogy in it's purest since was a sermon. Pastor Newborne preached about Job and how God permitted bad things to happened YET he trust in God. I was more blessed by this service than a many services I attended in 2005. Present were the mayor of the city, two councilmen, superintendent of schools, principal of Lee high school, and many other dignitaries from the city and community; two TV news stations. All gather into an Adventist church on a Sabbath morning where nothing but hospitality and love was felt.

Oakwood opened their church home for the funeral and fed them after she was buried; the funeral home donated the casket and all that goes with that; the burial plot at a the most prestigious cemetery was also donated.

I'm glad that I experienced it and from all facial expression of the family of the deceased, they were overwhelmed by the Christian love received.

Kudos to the SDA Church.

Willie S. Parker

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