Funeral Homily for Aaron Edward Kimel Delivered by his Father Alvin F. Kimel, Jr.

Posted by Kendall Harmon

(For the background on this, please see the earlier blog posts here and there.)--KSH.

Not once have I ever entertained the possibility that I wouldever find myself in this moment, preaching at the funeral of one of my children....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / FuneralsMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & Family

17 Comments
Posted June 25, 2012 at 1:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Milton wrote:

I pray that Fr. Kimel is right about the hope he expressed for his son, though he seems to be describing Purgatory as the means.  There is a wideness in God’s mercy past all human knowing, and “their conscience bearing witness…God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus.”

June 25, 3:07 pm | [comment link]
2. QohelethDC wrote:

There’s a wideness in God’s mercy . . .

That hymn has been on my mind too. I can’t begin to imagine how hard this sermon must have been to craft and deliver. My warmest sympathies and prayers are with Fr. Kimel and all of Aaron’s family and friends.

June 25, 3:16 pm | [comment link]
3. Katherine wrote:

May God receive Aaron and sustain his family in these days.

June 25, 3:23 pm | [comment link]
4. New Reformation Advocate wrote:

Preaching your own son’s funeral sermon is bad enough.  No one should ever have to do that.  But the fact that his son committed suicide and was an atheist makes it even more traumatic.  As a father, I can’t imagine such a terrible, agonizing challenge.

I’ve long been a fervent admirer of Fr. Kimel, whose outstanding but sadly defunct blog Pontificator was always stimulating, instructive, edifying, and invariably well argued, as is this sermon.  Although others can correct me, my understanding is that after being one of the courageous Episcopal signers and drafters of the famous Baltimore Declaration in the 1990’s, Fr. Kimel swam the Tiber and became a Roman Catholic for a number of years, but I heard that he has now migrated again, and embraced Eastern Orthodoxy.  Can anyone clarify, confirm or disconfirm that?

In any case, this fine sermon only increases my deep respect anbd admiration for Fr. Kimel.  May God, in his infinite mercy, sustain him and his grieving family, after this devastating loss.

David Handy+

June 25, 5:09 pm | [comment link]
5. Paula Loughlin wrote:

May God, the author of all mercies, hear the prayer of His faithful servant, Father Kimel.

June 25, 5:29 pm | [comment link]
6. Karen B. wrote:

Words fail… how tragic to read of Aaron’s unbelief.  My heart breaks for the Kimel family.  May the Lord hold them close to His heart in these days and help them to know His love, His strength, and His hope. 

I will long remember this as an example of incredible trust in God’s goodness and faithfulness even in the blackest most unimaginable circumstances.  May God show forth His faithfulness and bring beauty from ashes.

June 25, 5:35 pm | [comment link]
7. Kendall Harmon wrote:

David in #4, if you follow the links in the first line of the post now, and then go on to follow up on those links, you will see the timeline you have laid out. You are correct.

June 25, 6:25 pm | [comment link]
8. Kendall Harmon wrote:

I have no idea how Al (admired friend and former colleague of many of us in the diocese of South Carolina) even found the strength, much less the courage, to do a sermon like this.

May the Lord be with him and Christine and their family in every possible sense today and ever after.

June 25, 6:27 pm | [comment link]
9. Terry Tee wrote:

What courage Al showed, and also what honesty.  It rends the heart to think what he and his family must be going through.  May God give them strength.  I sometimes think of the literally last seconds of those who take their lives, and wonder if in that split second there was a moment of clarity, when the face of Christ the Merciful appeared to them.  In any event:  God is love, and love bound itself to the cross so that we might be set free.

June 25, 7:02 pm | [comment link]
10. Milton Finch wrote:

I am sure that there are those that went before Aaron were there waiting with outstretched arms to guide him as his New Day progressed. I strongly agree with what he wrote, having wrestled with the same reality with my nephew that I carried around the yard when he was a toddler.  The amazement in his eyes to every new leaf , flower and berry was a sight to behold. The is now amazement anew when they feel the love of their ever loving Lord.

June 25, 8:32 pm | [comment link]
11. Pageantmaster ن [Repent Justin Welby] wrote:

The Christian vision of reality is so much more real, more beautiful, more enchanting, and profoundly more true than any vision of reality offered by modern culture and thescientific worldview.

Amen, so true.

Despite his suicidal disbelief, Aaron will not be permitted to have the last word. The risen Christ reserves that word to himself, and it is a word of the absolute triumph of love and grace. By the inner promptings of the Holy Spirit, Aaron will open his heart to the mercy and love of God. He will allow the Father to flood him with his holy light and liberate him from all despair. He will allow the Savior to bind his wounds and forgive his sins. He will allow the Spirit to fill his heart with joy and grace. Painful purification may be necessary—it is not easy thing to relinquish our self-will; it is not an easy thing to repent of one’s sins—but the grace of God will triumph in the heart of my son. This I declare in the name of Jesus. Amen.Amen.

I too believe this to be true.  The bruised reed He will not break.

Brothers and sisters, there is no time limit on the unbounded love of God. It does not expire at the moment of death. God has created us for himself. In love Christ searches and searches for that one lost sheep and does not rest until he has found it and restored it to the fold

God is outside time and space and His mercy is without limit and unbounded.  This is not just the cry of a father, but the Father’s promise.  Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

June 26, 12:33 am | [comment link]
12. QohelethDC wrote:

Forgiving Jesus,
you welcomed sinners and ate with them:
welcome home, we pray, our brother Aaron.

Suffering Jesus,
you cried out in anguish from the cross:
grant Aaron your peace that passes understanding.

Grieving Jesus,
you wept for Lazarus, your friend:
comfort and strengthen all who mourn for Aaron.

All this we ask in your holy Name.
Amen.

June 26, 8:53 am | [comment link]
13. Adam 12 wrote:

Amen and Amen.

June 26, 8:59 am | [comment link]
14. Charles52 wrote:

Though I never heard of this young man till this week, he keeps coming to mind at daily Mass, so I pray for him, who remains in the mind of the Spirit, the power of the Son, and the heart of the Father.

The monks having a saying when their brothers dies: now he knows more theology than all of us. Surely Aaron sees Truth; may he have Grace to embrace it.

June 26, 9:01 am | [comment link]
15. QohelethDC wrote:

The monks having a saying when their brothers die: now he knows more theology than all of us.

What a wonderful saying! I’d never heard it before and really appreciate your sharing it. Thanks, Charles.

June 26, 10:08 am | [comment link]
16. Clueless wrote:

“There is no time limit on the unbounded love of God. It does not expire at the moment of death.” 

This I too believe.  I am humbled by Fr. Al’s continued, and courageous witness, and by the depth of his faith and trust in the Lord.  As with Abraham, God will not disappoint him.  The ram that saved Isaac has already been slain for Aaron, and in God’s time, please God, Aaron will accept that sacrifice.

June 26, 10:08 am | [comment link]
17. New Reformation Advocate wrote:

Thanks, Kendall (#7 & 8).

I had indeed missed those earlier posts.  I am simply flabbergasted at the poise and serene faith Fr. Kimel displays in this poignant,m moving sermon.  A fabulous witness.  My heart goes out to this stricken family.

Lord, have mercy.

David Handy+

June 26, 4:45 pm | [comment link]
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