Early on Sunday morning February 11 sister Alice Sewell departed this life for a better land. In keeping with the story Jesus gave in Luke 16, I believe the angels came and carried her into Abraham’s bosom (Luke 16:22). My acquaintance with Alice and her family goes back to the mid 1950s including 34-plus years at Northeast. Alice was a long-time member of the Northeast congregation having been here almost from the very beginning. For all of those years you could expect to see Alice in the audience any time the doors were open.
When I think of Alice I think of her hospitality. There is no telling how many people that Alice has carried food to in time of need. And I can attest to the fact that Alice was a great cook. When I think of Alice I think of her faithfulness. Even in failing health for the past few years, she would come to services, probably when she should not have attempted to do so. She was a tremendous source of encouragement by her faithfulness as well in the many words of support and encouragement she has given to many other the years. When I think of Alice, I think of her patience demonstrated with the tremendous care she provided for Gary all of these years, and with her care for brother Cap as his health failed. Through all of that I never heard her complain. When I think of Alice I think of Solomon’s picture of a “virtuous woman” in Proverbs 31. When I think of Alice, especially for the last few years, I think of someone who was frail but determined. We could all do well to demonstrate these marvelous qualities she had in her life. The most important thing I can say about Alice is that she was a Christian to the end, having obeyed the Gospel of Christ, putting on her Lord in baptism, and living faithfully all of her life.
Those of her earthly family and those of her spiritual family here at Northeast mourn her passing, “but not as others who have no hope” (I Thess. 4:13). Alice passed into eternity through a door that none of us has yet entered. This door is sometimes viewed as a dark door due to the fact that we have not been that way before, but it also has a bright side. The bright side of this dark door can be seen if we view it from God’s side instead of our side.
“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints” (Psalm 116:15). “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them” (Rev. 14:13). As mentioned earlier, Alice’s life was filled with doing good works. Through these “good works” Alice “let her light shine before men that the Father might be glorified” (Matt. 5:16). The Hebrew writer had some important things to say about this: “God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister” (Heb. 6:10).
All of us at Northeast will miss Alice. We extend our sympathy to her family and pray God’s blessing to be on them as they go through this time of sorrow. We have confidence that we will see her again in that upper and better world.
Paul M. Wilmoth