Summary: I preached this message for a young firefighter, age 40 who died suddenly.
MEMORIAL SERVICE FOR KEITH WISNOWSKI
Good morning. I want to welcome you today as we come together to celebrate the life of Keith Wisnowski. On behalf of the family I want to say thank you for so many things you have done to support them this week. And for this wonderful crowd here today the family is very grateful and they appreciate so much your presence and your prayers. Before I speak today you will hear from 3 other people. First will be Scott Cassin, Fire chief for Pasco county fire rescue. Then we will hear from Lela McKinney, a very close friend and then Rachel Boehmer, (Family, sister?) will sing. I also want you to know that at the closing of the service today we will ask anyone who wishes to do so, to share a few words for the family. We will have microphones that we will pass around and allow you to speak from right where you are seated.
I am reading today a psalm that we are very familiar with. Psalm 23.
Prayer. Heavenly father, if there is any need we have today it is for you to come and be with us. To be our great shepherd, the one who gently guides us the one who walks with us through every difficulty we face. We must turn to you today Lord because we really have no other place to go. We come today with broken hearts that need healing and many come to you with questions. I pray today for your comfort for this family. Help them to know how much you love all of us and how much you care for each of us. May they sense your presence more than ever before. We make our prayer today in Jesus name. Amen.
Chief Scott Cassin.
Chief Cassin, speaker
Lela McKinney, speaker
Rachel Boehmer, singer
Memorial Service for Keith Wisnowski
Today we find ourselves in the valley of death that the Psalmist talked about….it is a difficult place to be but as the psalmist talks about it is also a place where we can experience the presence of God. These words were written down by the shepherd boy, David. Like all of us, David went through some difficult times. In the previous psalm, Psalm 22 we hear David cry out to the Lord with words like these, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” We don’t know exactly what he was going through but we do know he was hurting. We know that he experienced grief in the loss of his son who was only 7 days old. So he was familiar with this valley of the shadow of death. When I think of the valley of the shadow of death I always think of a setting like this or in a funeral home. But this valley is an actual place in the Holy Land/Israel. When people would walk through that area as they were traveling they would often be in danger for their lives. They could be robbed, beaten or even murdered. We believe it was the same place where the story of the Good Samaritan took place. But David said that when he walked through that place he was not afraid…because God was with him…his rod, his staff they comfort me. These were items of protection. God still gives that protection and help to us today. In fact I believe that He is more present at times like this than perhaps any other time.
About 20 years ago we were living in KY… I have 4 children. 3 boys, one girl. All grown now. And at the time this took place, Shelby, my little girl was about the same age you are now. We decided to take a family vacation there and see some of the state we had not seen. One of the places we went to was mammoth cave. We took a tour that lasted an hour or so. When we first went in the tour guide spoke to us and he told us that when we get to the heart of the cave that he would speak to us again. When we arrived there he was standing there holding a candle. It was a small candle but it provided enough light for us to be able to see. He told us to gather close together because the light was about to go out and that it would be very dark. He then blew the candle out and it was the single darkest place I had ever been. He said now hold your hand up in front of your face….I couldn’t see a thing. My 2 youngest children were 4 and 6 at the time...one was standing on 1 side of me and 1 on the other and my two older children were standing with my wife. When he blew out the candle the first thing I felt were 2 little hands that grabbed mine.