(BY VEN. FOLUSO TAIWO)
“Life is short, we do not know what will happen tomorrow. The way we mourn others, we should mourn ourselves, death will surely come, there is no gauge for death.”
These are the words of the Rt. Rev. Godfrey Ekpenisi, the newly elected Bishop of Diocese of Ika at St. Michael’s Anglican Church Owa Alero, Delta State at the burial service for Mr. John Matthias Nwaoge Okoh, the younger brother of the Primate of all Nigeria, the Most Rev. Nicholas D. Okoh.
According to the Bishop of Ika diocese, there is nothing like dying by seniority, the junior can die before the older one, for man brought nothing to this world, and certainly he shall take nothing back.
The Cleric who drew his text from James 4:14, said in spite of all one has acquired, including luxurious fleet of cars, uncountable houses and properties, death is for all, and one should be prepared for the journey home. He said the deceased could have refused to die if possible, but despite all care, and being given the adequate best of treatment when he was indisposed, this did not stop death, he eventually breathed his last.
Bishop Ekpenisi said the message that is being sent is that no matter how old one lives, no matter the overtime spent on earth, after death there is a destination, either hell or heaven. He posited that the impact made on one’s neighbour and immediate neighbourhood is paramount and if no impact is made, one is just a waste to the community.
He admonished the congregation of well-wishers to have a rethink, do a thorough self-examination by not joining the multitude to commit evil, because they will be remembered by the evil they perpetrate. The ebullient preacher asked how much they are contributing to the Church and immediate family as born again Christians; adding that they must have impact in the house of God and must not go empty handed. He said some people would be remembered for the evil they did to themselves- like having multiple sex partners, drug addiction, alcoholism etc. that amounts to doing harm to themselves.
He passed a message across to the children of the deceased to examine themselves, and watch their contributions; adding that if they serve less than their father served they will be among men the most miserable.
He urged them to find their way to the Church completely and serve God diligently, adding that the Church is watching.
Life, according to the Bishop is like vapour and the only thing that can save them is to be truly born again. He said the dead is gone, and it is those that are alive that must give their lives for Christ. He made an altar call and many people gave their lives and many, putting their hands on their chest, rededicated their lives. He prayed for the children of the deceased, Williams and his siblings, for the zeal of the Lord to be on them, for peace and unity in the families, nuclear and extended.
Owa Alero, the country home of the Primate of all Nigeria was agog with Archbishops, Bishops, array of the Clergy from dioceses and the laity, all in honour of the late John Matthias Nwaoge Okoh. May the soul of the departed brother rest in peace, Amen.