Today it feels so long time ago, to remember.

       But I still can hear his firm voice. The voice we got so used to hear, of Pastor Dennis White. 

With eyes fixed on him from every corner of the sanctuary and the balcony, note takers fingers transfixed, unsure whether to continue taking notes, or to stop, listen not to interrupt. I do remember. 

Perhaps because he preached the sermon twice. The first instance, I can’t recall. But this, I do. It was Sunday. Unfortunately, I can’t now narrate the whole sermon, not in the same  details a recorded message would. But I remember faintly, like one gazing at at X-ray pic, when you are not the doctor. But you believed every word of the physician,  still can you feel pain of the broken bone in your limb. This though I remember. 

THE TEXT. The book of Judges 15.

THE CHARACTER. Samson against the Philistines at the Cleft of Etam .

THE PLOT. Samson, catching foxes (not FOX TV), dispatching  the to a flame the Philistines’ barley fields, about to be harvested, and turning them red with rage. The Philistines learnt that Samson acted in revenge against his in-laws’ betrayal. So they razed down Samson’s in-laws household. It was fire for fire. It wasSamson the craved for. Being the rulers over Jews, it was their duty to protect property. But the arsonist must be brought to book.  Wanted:- “the arsonist” dead or alive! Better alive, to kill him…”poooole pooooole” (slowly) for revenge is best served cold. Intelligence sighted  Samson social distancing in Judah’s Cleft of Etam. The Philistines demanded of the leaders to hand in Samson or the country burns. No options, no handshake. Like a sheep, tired, old, yet willing, being towed to the butcher, they led him. One thousand seasoned soldiers against one Samson. Humanly speaking Samson was a dead meat. People! It is Samson. Of whom we cannot to be humanly speaking. Wait until they get to Lehi. You will realise there are some shouting that turns the Spirit against you. No one but, Samson got it. He too didn’t see it coming. But when the Spirit of the Lord stirred him, the ropes like flaxs on fire gave way… And with the JAW BONE OF AN ASS, Samson killed a thousand men. Men, men- enough to be trusted soldiers. ..the battle scene is hard to describe, If only you heard  with your ears Pastor White describe it, or were there for the event itself, but from safe distance, those many years ago. The scene: piles of corpses, haphazardly heaped on top of each other, some legs pointing to the heavens, some bodies standing as if still standing alive,  others upside down, while others still lying flat on the ground, as though rolled over. Broken weapons, new and old, didn’t help. A limb here, a tooth there, smell of urine, ….Then the haunting regret, “why did we dare him?”

At Ramath Lehi, a very tired and thirsty Samson, really thirsty, thirsty to death. Samson got ministered to, but had tossed the Jaw of an ass, not far off. The jaw bone, he reasoned isn’t far, just here at Hakkore, I can get it if needed. For now, it’s job was done. Thank you. 

THE POINT. In hermeneutical terms,  this is the preaching point. Otherwise Pastor White would say … “here  is the IMPORT, and the IMPUT of the message”  I mean the corner  Pastor White wanted get us all day long. ….and he knew it, because he chuckled and adjusted both his glasses and trousers, facing right and turning left and then proceeded to say:

 “Liiisen… Pastor White!

Beloved, Samson’s biggest mistake…. was tossing away the Jaw bone. He tossed away what God used to save him. Beloved, It is by faith in God that we are saved. And by It we are safe. God has used faith to save us, to save your life, when you get thirsty don’t toss it away. Samson became casual with God’s provision for the destruction of his enemies. Samson began his descent to destruction the instant he tossed the jaw bone. We hold on to the faith that saved us. We are to have faith in God’s faithfulness  he is the OBJECT of our faith.. Don’t become sophisticated, don’t forget the basics of our faith. for then you shall have tossed the jawbone.  There is no solution or salvation outside what we have been given in Jesus…without faith its impossible to please God. Don’t toss the jaw bone… don’t give up  faith  in God. He is faithful… he is Faithful…

Then Music followed….then followed the altar call while all heads and bowed…and all eyes closed then followed the counsellors with badges clearly marking them out, among them, I notice brother William Busolo….

I wonder what this text says to us today…is there faith in God among his people? I wonder what Pastor White would tell us… would he rebuke our present practices, faith in the prophets, politicians, programs, and plans … White often rebuked Christians, with a tinge of annoyance, pity, impatience, and withtint arrogance, all mingled in these three words: “High Class Nonsense!”

I remain a captive of this sermon… preached more than 30 plus years ago, his voice still haunts….I literary tend to notice jaw bones…  Lord I believe help my unbelief! 

Canon Omondi