Thursday, June 11, 2009

A response to an Unexpected Death.

On Monday, June 8, 2009, I learned of the death of the St. Thomas Carnival Queen in a car accident. Karence Decosta was selected less than two months ago. She graduated from Charlotte Amalie High School on Sunday afternoon and at 2:15 a.m. Monday she was pronounced dead on impact after losing control of her vehicle. She was asked to sing at the graduation and chose the song "Ave Maria". (I'll say more about this later)

On Tuesday morning as a former Carnival Queen (1985) I called the local radion station in St. Thomas (WSTA) to offer my condolences to her family and to others in the community. Irvin "Brownie" Brown asked if me to speak "live" on the radio. I used this opportunity to share the following words of Scripture found in Proverbs 3:5&6: Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight. I stated that it is clear that we do not understand why accidents like these happen, yet we can never lean on our own understanding. We would certainly fail to honor God's sovereign will, if we do. I also shared Ecclesiates 3:1&2 There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven— 2 A time to give birth and a time to die; A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted.

(The following was not said on the radio) We must all expect death because the it is a one per one chance that we will all face it. None of us have a "get out of death" card---neither do we have a "pick the proper time for your death" card. As insensitive as this may seem, if we understand these two realities, we can live each day to its fullness. God is faithful and He should be worshipped at all times. Do you know what David did after God took His son with Bathsheba????? He worshipped God. (2 Samuel 12:1-20) Many do not understand that God IS always in control. Ask Abraham if God is in control???? God asked Abraham to take the life of his son Isaac and when God saw that he was willing to be obedient, He knew that Abraham feared Him. (Gen. 22:1-14) Do we reverence God the way Abraham did???? Do we understand that when death comes that we must trust and worship God?

Here are the words to Ave Maria: "Hail Mary full of grace. The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thee among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary mother of God. Pray for us sinners now and at the time of our death. Amen." Karence sung this song in Latin as it is usally done, so many people including myself never consider what the words of this song mean in English.

Biblically speaking, only a small part of the song is correct. As the mother of Jesus, Mary was blessed (Luke 1:42) The practice of Catholics however, to deify Mary and to state that her mother conceived her through immaculate conception is false. Mary was no more special than Abraham, Isaiah, Jeremiah or David. God chose her to fulfill the task of being the mother of Jesus. She found favor with God not because she had done anything or because she too came from a virgin birth. There is no biblical evidence that any other person was conceived of the Holy Spirit other than Jesus. HE was the only one born this way because HE needed to be sinless. HE alone was the Son of God not the son of Joseph, but Joseph was indeed respected by Jesus as His earthly father.

There is nothing biblical about the belief of Catholics that Mary or any other dead "saint"(those that they consider to be saints) can pray for us. When asked by His disciples to teach them how to pray, Jesus taught them to pray to God our Father. He also did the same. (John 17) We are to pray to God ourselves while we are still alive, not ask (dead) Mary to pray for us. Because of Jesus' death, (Hebrews 2:17; 4:14&15; 5-1) we now pray through Him not through a priest or through any other person. His sacrifice made it possible for us to pray to God through Him. We can also have others to pray for us, and we should pray for others as well. But we are never to ask the dead to pray for us.

We will never know why Karence chose to sing this song, but I was informed that many at the graduation believed that the song had something to do with her death--without even knowing what the words of the song meant in English. I hope that these words offer some clarity for those of you who read this. (You might want to pass this on to others.) We must be careful about reading meaning into things carelessly. I pray that Karence knew God personally. However, by singing this song she only did what many "gospel" artists do everyday--they sing songs that are not biblically correct, but sound good to the ears. A song should be about the Gospel found in the Word of God in order to be called "gospel" music. I do not believe that the song had anything to do with her death.

Jesus taught in John 11:25-26, that any man who believes in Him will never die. We must trust Him while we are alive and in death we SHALL live with HIM.

To God Be the Glory.

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