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Vivian Da Costa Life Celebration

The following scriptures and comments were recently shared at the life celebration of a friend and dear saint.  I hope you find them as uplifting as I did.

New Testament Readings

March 13, 2010

 Please stand with me as we read the Holy and Living Word of God: 

First Reading: John 14:1-4

At the very end of Jesus' ministry, after the Last Supper, Jesus is with His disciples.  He has announced His betrayal and His imminent departure from this planet.  He has announced Peter's denials.  He has announced His trial, His crucifixion and His resurrection.  He will be going away for a time. 

Those closest to Him are filled with fear, dismay and confusion. In the midst of their anguish and uncertainty, he gave them (and us) these words:

 "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; Believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and receive you to be with me that you also may be where I am." (John 14:1-4)

 

Second Reading: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

Early during the Apostle Paul's second missionary journey, Thessalonica was one of his first and most strategic church plants in Macedonia. He preached the Good News of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ; His life, His death, His resurrection, His ascension, and His impending return.  As Paul and Silas traveled further North to Athens and Corinth, he sent his young protégé Timothy back to encourage and support the fledgling church.

Timothy returned with encouraging news; the church was flourishing even in the face of persecution.  They did, however, have questions: What happened to believers who passed away during the time between Christ's ascension and His triumphant return?  Would they miss out on His kingdom?

In his first letter to the church at Thessalonica, Paul offered these words of comfort:

"But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope.  For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.  Therefore comfort one another with these words." (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)

 

Third Reading: 2 Timothy 4:6-8

Later, as Paul contemplated His own death, he wrote his "last words" in the form of an encouraging letter to young Timothy, who was fast becoming a strong leader in the early church.  Here Paul shares with us something of the reward our dear Sister DaCosta has already received and that we who are redeemed have to look forward to:

"For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come.  I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing." (2 Timothy 4:6-8)

May God add His blessing to the reading and the hearing of these words.  Amen.