Remarks Given at the Memorial Service for Shanice Denise Osbourne
(Rev. Dr. O'Neal Dozier, pastor of The Worldwide Christian Center in Pompano Beach, asked me to bring some remarks at the Memorial Service for Shanice Denise Osbourne held at his church on October 14, 2008. Baby Shanice was the victim of infanticide on July 20, 2006, after being born alive during preparation for an abortion in Hialeah Florida. One of the abortion clinic owners cut the babies umbilical cord and placed the baby into a red biohazard bag to die. Dr. Alan Keyes, presidential candidate of the American Independent Party gave the Eulogy. These are the remarks I made before Dr. Keyes spoke.)
My condolences and sympathy to the mother, Sycloria Williams, and family of Shanice. You are in our prayers and thoughts as you bear the pain of your great personal loss.
Last week I received a phone call from a south Florida newspaper reporter. The reporter asked me what I was going to say at this memorial service. I replied that I was not sure because I had just been asked to speak the day before. The reporter said that it was going to get political, and I agreed that it probably would.
I shared with the reporter how Hope Women’s Centers serves abortion minded and abortion vulnerable women that are facing an unplanned pregnancy. We provide them with the truth, the alternatives and practical help so they can make an informed choice regarding their pregnancy – an opportunity to make a life affirming choice. I shared the two words that are the guiding principles of all that we say and all that we do. The words – truth and grace.
I believe these two words will help shape our thoughts as we wrestle with what happened to baby Shanice. We cannot look to the politicians to adequately explain the tragedy of what happened to Shanice. Nor can we expect the social scientist to adequately explain what took place.
May I suggest to you that we cannot fully understand this tragedy without looking beyond the circumstances that we are all familiar with, to the spiritual context of what happened. If we overlook the spiritual we remove the possibility of ever experiencing the comfort, healing and restoration that is available to those who have been so dramatically touched by the death of Shanice. If we overlook the spiritual we will never make the progress necessary to see that this never happens again.
The civility of our society will always be measured by our treatment of the weakest, the powerless, and the most vulnerable among us. Our culture has devalued life at both extremities - the youngest and the oldest - those who are the most dependent on others for their survival.
Our legislators and judges are surgically removing any notion of accountability to a sovereign God in formulating the laws and public policy of our nation. In doing so they are abandoning the concept of absolute moral truth leaving man to define the ethical boundaries of acceptable human conduct and behavior. Truth has become relative and therefore ambiguous - subservient to our self interests. Self love has triumphed over transcendent truth. The sacred value placed on human life by our Creator has become a casualty.
But there is hope! Grace always accompanies truth. John declared that Jesus was “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). The Bible says that “grace and truth come through Jesus Christ” (John 1:17). Jesus himself declared “I am the way the truth and the life.” No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6) and "I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." (John 10:10)
I tell you this morning what America needs is to reconnect with Jesus Christ who is the Truth. And that is truth with a capital "T". That’s where grace comes into play. Our hope lies in the cross of Jesus Christ! You see truth and grace converge at the cross. The justice of God and love of God intersect at the cross. On the cross Jesus took our sin upon himself. In His death He paid the penalty for our sins. As the Scriptures say, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21) And the Apostle Paul concluded, “since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:1)
The fruit of being justified is transformation. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17) The Apostle Paul's own testimony - "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me." (Galatians 2:20)
Faith in Christ results in the regeneration of the human heart. We become lovers of God - and lovers of God’s moral law - and lovers of our fellow man. This is our hope – the cross of Jesus Christ. Through the cross there is forgiveness for those responsible for the death of Shanice. Through the cross there is forgiveness for those who have legalized abortion. And for those who have aborted their own children, there is forgiveness, there is healing, there is wholeness and restoration - through the cross.
So this morning, I encourage you to see the tragedy of the death of Shanice from the vantage point of the cross. It is true that in her death evil triumphed over good, wrong defeated right, deception was victorious over truth, but the final chapter has yet to be written.
For all of us our hope lies in the cross of Jesus Christ. The power of the cross is in His truth. The hope of the cross is in His grace. Despite the skeptics, truth and grace remain the bookends of any great nation - the hope of a free and civil society.
- RuthAnn Nicholls likes this