I began this draft on April 18th whilest at the hospital at my Aunt Thelma’s bedside. Whom I am sorry to report has also passed away in the interim. Official date of passing April 24, 2015 AD. And I am absolutely amazed to see that an entire month has already come and gone. Two days passed the official day she left. I was witness there at her bedside when they took out the tubes. Her death the result of a very bad stroke. It happened on April 10, 2015 AD. So her going was very sudden. How do you say, “Like a thief in the night?” Yes, it happened that way for I had just seen her right after Easter Sunday, brought her an Easter Lilley for her birthday. Her earthly birthday was April 6th.
However speaking of the time, I lost so very much of it from being mesmerized after the fact that it all happened. Like I said it happened so suddenly and as matter of fact. One moment your cruising Trader Joe’s, your favorite grocery store looking for the perfect dry dinner Chardonnay on a budget and then you get a call the next day that your favorite Aunt is in the ICU suffering from a horrible stroke that happened the evening before right around the time you were at the p.o.s. counter. And you just freeze up. I know I did. Went into fight or flight mode and the flight mode won. I just flew away very far away in my mind. Trying to grasp the awesome understanding of how very close we walk to death’s door every day to the degree where your loved ones slip away right in front of you and really there is nothing you can do about it. But accept it. Begin to pray for strength to get through the release of their spirit. The great solace in that entire circumstance is believing that she is at rest now in the Heavenly Father’s bosom whom said he has prepared a mansion for her. “If it were not so I would have told you.” This is scriptural. John 14:2
So of course, April for the most part was a wrap from the moment we got the news that Aunt Thelma had suffered a stroke and from there…well, like I said. We were there until it was finished. All of us. Every last one of us; the tribe of Benjamin I call us. Literally our surname enclosed. They don’t read my WordPress page anyway. But here it is an entire month and two days passed and life as usual is still going on on Planet Earth. The usual routine in our lives. Not to discount the goings – on like the horrible, terrifying earthquake in Nepal that registered 8.7 that took 10,000 lives over night April 25, 2015. Actually exactly one day after Aunt Thelma passed away. We take a moment to pause in silence.
And the Gay rights agenda for same sex marriage, and the renown Olympic Gold Medalist Bruce Jenner announces that he is actually a woman? Hello! I spy invasions of the body snatchers. Is anybody out there and have we all entered into what I believe is “Apocalypse Now!”
However, now in recent reflection, one thing I take great delight and honor in saying is that I was very blessed in the event to be called upon in the Lord’s service for my dear Aunt Thelma’s burial, bannered, “A Triumphant Home Going Celebration”.
IT certainly was that and how! First I want to deliver that my Aunt Thelma was no slouch when it came to business. Her entire program already pre-arranged to the last dime. So that of course took much of the burden off of the immediate family members. Her household was in order too. That’s a huge score for the household of Faith. In these days, you know sometimes that is not always the case and then you have problems that you truly do not want to have to entertain. None the less, you have to come through those types of things as a family unit. why it is so important, so very important that things are not left to the last minute. Which can be a chore, sure. When we are oft times so keyed up in the pride of life, it’s takes a wise person to look well to their going, even unto death. I’m just glad that Aunt Thelma was on top of her game to the day of Christ. And she was saved in Jesus name. And that truly is the Good News. Selah!
I want to share this with you as well; the part about while she was still here and hooked up on all the tubes and what not and the machines that were beeping helping to regulate her breathing. The family, of course, daily we were all gathered around. Some debating on whether or not she was going to make it; we all wanted Aunt Thelma to pull through. We were actually believing that she would heal. We had great hope. But somehow also I discerned a peace; a rest in my spirit that even if she didn’t; it was going to be okay because she was ready. She was saved. My hope then turned to hoping that we were ready; ready to catch the mantle.
What the Heck Is a Mantle? – The Christian Post
17. Taking Up Your Mantle (1 Kings 19:19-21) | Bible.org
Jun 4, 2004 – (1) This mantle was the official garment of a prophet. There were three types of mantles worn in biblical times. This is the `adderet, a cloak that could be made of animal hair and was a garment of distinction worn by kings and especially by prophets (1 Kgs. 19:13, 19; 2 Kgs. 2:8, 13-14; Zech. 13:4).
Aunt Thelma left such an amazing legacy. We are church builders by faith and predestination because the Lord said that He called us by our name and foreknew us from the foundations of the world to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn of many brethern. Moreover, whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” Romans 8:30v31.
Firebrands. Hence, we should know we got next. We are in the lineup of great journey men and women whom have held so valiantly to the Faith of our ancestors and forefathers and foremothers in Jesus Christ since the Day of Pentecost. The birthday of the Church. And Aunt Thelma…well that is why it was so special; her passing so significant; it is because she was the last of that generation. She lived 85 years, an exceptional age. For the Bible tells us that “The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.” Psalm 90:10
I was my father’s caregiver and he lived to be 99 years of age. God rest his soul. Sunrise for him came in the foothills of Roanoke, Virginia on a early Fall day October 8, 1913 until it was finished on a early Fall evening October 9, 2012 AD. So you do understand as I’m making emphasis on the fact that she was the last of that generation of our bloodline; our heritage. And now it is on us to carry forward the legacy being what God chose us to remain until His second coming. Church builders until the Day of Christ.
Of course we all have our causes and in a sense we are all church builders too because building churches is much like building a foundation for a great cause. Our cause is to uplift the name of Jesus via through the Holy Scriptures of the Bible in hopes of the souls of mankind be saved. “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved and come into the knowledge of the Truth.” I Timothy 2:4. Amen. So we are all members of a Royal Priesthood. I mean like literally. All of us, talking about my family. Why I call us firebrands. Because the Word is ingrained in our hearts and minds to the degree where we know scripture like the way we breathe. Some of us more than others and I am not professing to be all of holier than thou or anything like that, but this is our legacy. I only pray God’s grace to become what He has predestined me to be because I do have this much understanding.
But I sat there in silence really just observing everyone else. I sat quietly with my Bible opened on my lap and my eyes fell to this passage, “But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is to bring Christ down from above:) Or who shall descend into the deep? (That is to bring up Christ again from the dead.) But what saith it? The Word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of Faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.” Romans 10:9v11
I am stating this Scripture here because it is relevant not only to the situation that was transpiring at that particular moment but even right now. For at the time my eyes did pierce this passage, my family members were bickering in disbelief, sorrow and sadness even some madness. About Aunt Thelma’s condition. Was she going to make it or not. Then, of course, I share it with you all here after the fact the scene on that occasion and where my thoughts were at. Well, in this instance it can never be a bad thing to know if you are ready to meet your Maker and if not, then to do a reality check on your faith and belief system. The scripture is plainly stated for all to believe the truth that can set you free. Of course, it’s up to you to choose to receive the inerrant, infalliable Word of God found in the Holy Bible lock, stock and barrel or not.
Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh and Aunt Thelma was like that. When one would come to visit her home. She would share with you generously from her heart.
“What I will miss most of all other than her amazingly plump righteous vine-ripe red tomatoes will be her talks at the kitchen table. How Aunt Thelma would faithfully minister out of the Lord’s treasuries – the precious gems of the Word of God.”
The above quote I mention from the impromptu sermon-nette I gave at my Aunt Thelma’s, “Triumphant Going Home Celebration.” I’ve since come to understand that that was exactly what was happening. That The Lord had permitted the most awesome occurrence. The most peculiar of events, something called the passing of the mantle in spite of us all. It was simply up to us to realize it and catch it as if ascended from above. Just think, we thought that funerals were about death and dying. Of course, except the seed dies it can bear no fruit.
Moreover, God had sent the angel of death and he didn’t ask anyone’s permission. But he came and went with his mission accomplished, Aunt Thelma’ soul was summoned and it was finished. She lived 85 years of life and what a life she lived. One year shy of the late great Ms. Maya Angelou, also a great woman of God whom passed from this life at 86. I didn’t know Ms. Angelou though she be also a great role model. But Aunt Thelma, I knew, for she too, I believe shall share in that great number amongst the great cloud of witnesses; as she was a great matriarch in the family of God. And what she shared with me personally, I am so very thankful now that I had presence of mind to capture. After all is said and done, you see, I have this jar …something like an alabaster.
In Memoriam Saint Thelma D. Benjamin April 6, 1930 – April 24, 2015 AD.
Jessica Mae Richardson