Summary: Funeral sermon for Cecil Gordon Davison, Jr., Army retiree and U. S. Marshall, member of the church’s Building and Grounds Committee.

Do not be alarmed, for his life is in him ... The eternal God is thy

refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.

My first glimpse of the kind of man Cecil Davison was came

just a few feet from where I am standing now. It was over at

that window. We had scheduled a workday to get some

crucial maintenance work done on this building. The

windows needed scraping, as many of them had been

painted shut, or would not close properly. Several volunteers

were at work, most of them with ladders reaching up from the

ground outside, some of them attempting to reach the high

spots from inside on the floor. But Cecil Davison was

standing up in the window, hanging on for dear life with one

hand, leaning out, and scraping away with the other hand. It

was an astonishing performance, and I remember joking with

him that I hoped his insurance was paid up and that I wasn’t

ready to do his funeral. He just laughed and went on

scraping away, standing in that window, doing his work, not

concerned about his own safety. Little did either of us know

at that time, quite a few years ago, that a conversation like

that would come to have special meaning today.

That incident came to my memory the other day as I sat with

you in the hospital, and Velma told me how Cecil had had a

dream in which he saw himself dying, and that ever after that

dream he had been very diligent, trying to complete various

tasks around the house. And you mentioned that in

particular he had been concerned to finish some work on a

window at your home. That window work came together in

my mind with this window work, and brought me to a little

story in the Bible – a story which, like Cecil, has a touch of

gentle humor in it; an account which, like Cecil’s situation

over these past several months, has an element of the tragic

in it; but, at rock bottom, an incident which reveals for us, as

Cecil came to understand, one grand and glorious truth

about our God. And that is that we may fall through the

window to our death, in truth we are falling through an open

window into life. We are falling through an open window into


In this little story in the Book of Acts, the apostle Paul has

come to the city of Troas, in Macedonia, with several

traveling companions. There is an atmosphere of both

excitement and tension – excitement, because the plans for

the future are grand plans, and the accomplishments of

recent days are solid accomplishments. Paul and his friends

have much to review and much to plan for.

But there is tension too. Tension because word has come of

a plot against Paul; enemies want to take his life. And so

that too concentrates his attention and the attention of his

friends. They must build their plans, but they must also

guard their flanks. This will take time. This requires a great

deal of discussion.

And so it was that their meeting began early enough, but

went on and on, well past midnight. The speakers were

animated and able to stay awake; but not everybody was up

to it. And so a man named Eutychus – by the way, in Greek

his name means “good fortune” – Eutychus, “Mr. Good

Luck”, got sleepy listening to Paul drone on and on, and fell

out of the window to his death. What a tragic thing, that

someone should fall to his death while attending to the things

of the Lord! (But I understand! I stand here every Sunday

and put folks to sleep!)

However, what happened next is the reason this story is

recorded in the Bible. If it had not been for this, the story of

Eutychus would have been relegated to the back pages of

history as but one of those unfortunate things that just

happens – a young man, an accident, ho-hum. But it is not

ho-hum. It is the occasion for the life-giving work of Christ.

For, says the story, Paul went down, bent over, picked up

Eutychus in his arms, and said, “Do not be alarmed, for his

life is in him.” And the young man returned to life.

Charming as this story is on its face, it has in it so much

more. For this story teaches us that through every open

window through which we may fall, Christ waits to embrace

us and give us life. And so through that open window of

disappointment that we see in Cecil Davison’s death,

discover with me how Christ gives life, just as He gave life to

Eutychus there in Troas.


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