Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Maria's Memorial Celebration Program

I wanted to share the contents of the program from Maria's Memorial Service with you because I found it so comforting...I pray it blesses you also.

MARIA SU CHUNXI CHAPMAN May 13, 2003 - May 21, 2008

"For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans for peace and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11

Lord's Day 1 - the Heidelberg Catechism

Q. What is your only comfort in life and in death?
A. That I am not my own, but belong--body and soul, in life and in death--to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood, and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil. He also watches over me in such a way that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven: in fact, all things must work together for my salvation. Because I belong to him, Christ, by his Holy Spirit, assures me of eternal life and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for him.

2 Corinthians 1:3-11

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.

We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.

Through the gospel, that is, by the person and work of Jesus, we are called to 3 great realities today.

1. Acknowledging the "Why Lord's"
The gospel enables us to hurt, lament, name and own our confusion. So much of Paul's life and ministry simply didn't make sense to those who assumed hard things don't happen to faithful followers of Jesus.

2. Silencing the "If Only's"
The gospel frees us, like Mary the sister of Lazarus, to run to Jesus and fall at his feet, and cry out, :Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died." Jesus responds with his own tears and deep affection (John 11:17-37).

3. Embracing the "So That's"
The gospel releases us from bondage to mere explanations, unto a life of deeper worship and fuller engagement with God's Story--Jesus' commitment to redeem his people from the nations and restore his broken creation--including one day eliminating the very word "orphan" from the human vocabulary. Why did this heart-breaking event happen to the Chapman family? We simply do not know why, but we do know that it happened so that we might join them in trusting God who raises the dead, and follow them as they follow Jesus, who has promised to make all things new.

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