Summary: This is the sermon that Rev. Fair wrote for the Funeral service of his own 21 year old college honor student who committed suicide.
Struck by a Demon
Rev. Ronald L. Fair
March 4, 2000
Good afternoon, my dearest church family, the family of God, friends of import, community leaders, Kappa Sigma Fraternity, and Greek Sorority friends, personal friends of Mark and special young people.
Marcia, Alison and I express our deepest thankfulness for your love and prayers, and expressed sympathies in this our darkest, saddest, most painful hour of bleakness, to ever strike our lives. This was a dear and loving son caught in a sea of despair, we did not cause. I have on the platform with me some of the most elegant and powerful clerics that I know. All are capable and have great skill of giving words of comfort using Scripture to lift our spirits with words of impression. My associate, Rev. Richard Basinger, is a skilled public speaker, as is our District Superintendent of the Arizona Conference Rev. Gilbert Ablard. Rev. Claude Phillips and I have been associated for many years. All would have been honored to share today. However, today I must take this traumatic moment to share with you personally. Although services are normally brief, I have informed Mr. Sutton that today we will show the realities of real life, with real consequences. Many of you have driven many miles and that being true, Marcia and I want to share the realities of life with you. As a good Free Methodist minister, I would not want to disappoint you with brevity.
Mark was born in Tucson, Arizona on April 12th 1978 and passed in to arms of Jesus on February 26, 2000.
I want to share with our wonderful community of Kingman, from amidst great personal pain and heartache, a story of a brilliant young man, full of love, liberal compassion and a horrid affliction in the last several months with a ‘Demon of Depression’. Marcia and Alison, who is our beautiful 12 year old, as well as Mark’s brother Carl, and his many friends must experience the effects of this horrendous demon that attacks the family of God more than any other oppression of the evil one, I believe.
There are also other items that generate or cause reaction to depression. Those items are relationships, sex and alcohol. There is far too much alcohol and careless sex in our schools, among young Christian friends everywhere. This is a tragedy—terrible in form for the lifetime damage it inflicts on family and friends.
Mark knew and loved Jesus, he had high grades, and he was popular as your presence, shows among men and women of all ages. He had been elected president of his Kappa Sigma Fraternity. He was skilled in computer knowledge and yet these evil tools of depression which involved relationships, sex and alcohol, overwhelmed him in a dark moment at the age of 21.
Marcia and I hope that in this our greatest hour of pain, heartache, tragedy, despair, dismay and emptiness, we might bring you and your family to the brink of watching, looking, and expecting that this horrid demon of Satan, could without warning strike your beautiful children.
In the midst of the pain, we pause to remember those who found Jesus far off at the hour of Lazarus death.
Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha.
This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.
So the sisters sent word to Jesus, "Lord, the one you love is sick."
When he heard this, Jesus said, "This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it."
Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.
Yet when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days.
Then he said to his disciples, "Let us go back to Judea."
"But Rabbi," they said, "a short while ago the Jews tried to stone you, and yet you are going back there?"
Jesus answered, "Are there not twelve hours of daylight? A man who walks by day will not stumble, for he sees by this world’s light.
It is when he walks by night that he stumbles, for he has no light."
After he had said this, he went on to tell them, "Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up."
His disciples replied, "Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better."
On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days.
Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem, and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother.