My brother served his first parish in Massillion, Ohio, as an associate pastor, with the late Pastor Maurice "Mo" White. Pastor White was a very large, strong and vibrant man. During one Lenten season, one of the older, but faithful members of the church came with her husband to an evening Lenten service. As they were leaving the service, the woman somehow fell down the outside flight of steps and broke her hip. For some unknown cause, she did not recover from the hip surgery and died in a few short days. Pastor White stood with the bereaved husband by the casket the night before the funeral. Many people came to offer their sympathies. Some were saying to the sorrowing husband,"God must of had a plan for this, so accept it." Another said,"It was God?s will and we must live by it." Still another said,"Somehow God planned this to test your faith!!" And still another said,"There is a sliver lining in every cloud, you will find God?s reason behind this eventually."
Pastor White left that funeral home filled with a very strong emotion of anger at the "babbling", as he put it, he heard that evening. He went to the study and rewrote the beginning of his funeral sermon.
Pastor White began his funeral sermon with this phrase:"My God does not push old ladies down church steps!!!" Then he proceeded to explain that God cannot be blamed or accused for all the brokenness of this world. If God is the author of death, how, how can He be at the same time the author of life as shown through the resurrection we celebrate each Sunday and especially on Easter. Is God the God of the living, or the God of the dead? You cannot have it both ways.
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