Sermon for the memorial service for the late Mr. Vicente

Be strong and courageous!

Vicente Inocencio was born in Philippines in 1948. It was the time when the Imperialism was defeated and retreated from their rule over all the South East Asia as well as from North East Asia. It was the time when the Asian people started having a vision for new future like the Israelites who were freed from the bondage of Egypt.

As Moses believed and followed God’s instructions for the Promised Land, Canaan, Mr. Inocentio followed God’s vision and came to Toronto, Canada. There he started his own family and his son Vincent was born in Canada. He worked hard as a banker in Canada as well as in USA.  He worked hard to support the family as Moses did to support his people. Everybody depended on him.

The Bible says that Moses died. So did Vicente. The mission has not been completed. The mission to build a worshipping community is left to the hand of Joshua and to the hands of the other people alive. So, God appeared to Joshua and encouraged him with these words. “Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them–to the Israelites. I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates–all the Hittite country–to the Great Sea on the west. No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Do you hear this voice also, Vincent? When a father figure passed away, God encouraged Joshua to take the mission himself and carry out it. Now, God promises that God will be with Vincent and all the family members as God has been with Vicente.

So, this commandment is not just for Joshua in the Bible. This is also for the members of Vicente family. “Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” I know that this is a sad and hard moment for family. However, God encourages all of you and me to be courageous and strong. Let us put our trust in God and hold onto the promise of eternal life! Let us build God’s kingdom together here on earth both in USA and in Philippines.

May God bless all who follow God’s dream and vision!

1.     What is the promise that you hear from the Bible today?

2.     What would be your mission as the living one left behind Mr. Vicente?

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