HH Sir Godfrey Gregg D.Div
First, Archbishop Frank Simon and Reverend Young introduced us to a new dimension of the creativity of Jesus Christ. I remember sitting in church and listening to Frank minister the word of God and walked us step by step until the whole temple was filled with the presence of God. The humility of this man I called my friend, a brother Bishop and brother of the Lodge. That is the best way I can describe him and now that he is no longer here among us, I look through the eyes of the Father for enduring faith.
Second, they taught us how to trust the Lord in the face of adversity. Now I have gone through trials before. But nothing like what we are facing today. And I watched Archbishop Frank Simon and Reverend Young walk through the blackest night with grace, peace, and faith in their Lord. I can only imagine the impact when their faith was lifted towards Heaven, and those words echoed in silence “In Thy arms Lord I commit my soul to you”. It was brutal to my ears when I got the call from Bishop Andres.
Third, they taught us how to die. Many of us were in their presence prior to this tragedy, on the last day that they graced this earth before they were called home. All throughout the entire ordeal, up until the very end, they had the countenance of God’s peace and grace upon their faces. They showed forth the spirit of the Lamb up until the Saviour brought them into His arms.
Before tragedy struck, they were happy rejoicing in the Lord looking for opportunities to share with us and those who didn’t know Him. Well, they were given that opportunity. Archbishop Frank Simon and Reverend Young shared the Lord with everyone whom they met in their walk of life. We were profoundly impacted by them. And we all fell in love with them. Today many of us rejoice and weep knowing that the life they lived has touched us in so many ways.
We Christians really don’t die. We fall asleep. The New Testament is clear on this. To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. But our bodies sleep until the last day. Archbishop Frank Simon and Reverend Young just fell asleep a little bit ahead of us. And they fell asleep with style, with class, with faith, with grace, and with a heart filled with love for others rather than pity for himself. They were on their Father’s business when tragedy struck and that is why you are reading this message this time.
I thank God for having the privilege of knowing this brother. The world is not worthy of such a one as this. He was a choice vessel of the Lord. And he greatly impacted the lives of so many of us.
While his passing is a great gain for him; it’s a huge loss for us who knew him. There will be a gaping hole in our hearts for some time. But God will use the instrument of time to heal those holes.
There are so many things that we don’t know on this side of the veil. We are finite creatures, tied to space and time, captured to a little speck of human history and experience. God is infinite, He is eternal, He sees the beginning from the end and the end from the beginning. He knows all things that can be known. He sees the big picture. That which we can’t possibly know or see.
It is for this reason that so much of life is a mystery. Our God has chosen to not fully disclose His every plan. He instead beckons us to trust Him. To rest confidently in the fact that He can see further than we can. And what He does is always right and just.
Nonetheless, we can take comfort in a few things this morning that simply will not move.
While our God is sovereign and sees and knows all things. We can be assured of this. He suffers with us in our pain. He grieves with us in our loss. He hurts with us in our suffering. So we can cling to Him in our time of grief and mourning.
While the wisest among us do not have any answers as to the question, “why” … and such answers really wouldn’t remove the pain anyway even if we knew them … as children of the Most High God, we can weep with those who weep and suffer with those who suffer. And therein, we can find some comfort.
I’ll close with a Scripture.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. That whosoever trusts in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.
Therein lies the destiny of Archbishop Frank Simon and Reverend Young, and it’s the destiny of all who have trusted in the Saviour, the Lord Jesus.
These are the Scripture I read at the graveside ceremony. I include them here in the advent that you have lost someone in Christ. I trust you’ll find them a comfort as I have:
And Martha said, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies …
For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.
For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far.
We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.
For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”
Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of the world, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words.