Thursday, December 08, 2011

Tenth Remembrance

Here are the remarks I gave at Sam Hsu's memorial service on behalf of Tenth Church.

According to Tenth’s records, Sam Hsu joined the church as a communicant member in 1981. He was ordained a deacon in 1985. In 1991 he was ordained a ruling elder.
I do not know all his responsibilities at Tenth. The some that I do know are serving as clerk of Session, as chairman of the Nominating Committee, and a member of the Music Committee. He tag-teamed with Michael Kennedy as Parish Elder of Parish 1, which covers Center City and So. Philadelphia. He served on special committees and commissions of Session and of Presbytery. (The Session is the board of elders which oversees and shepherds the church. The Presbytery encompasses the elders of the churches in our local area.) His most recent assignment was to serve on the Senior Minister Selection Committee. Sam did just about anything that was asked of him, for as he would inevitably respond when asked, “I am here to serve.”

Sam was asked often to serve, not because he was so willing, but that he was so respected and loved. The fruit of the Spirit given in Galatians 5:22-23 really were bore by Sam – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control – really! Everyone in this church who knew him, would even now be nodding “yes” to each trait read.

We knew that Sam was gifted. That was easy enough to see each time he sat before the piano. We may not all have understood the great skill he displayed, but we did see in him the peace, the calmness that flowed in him as he played. We are only now beginning to learn of how gifted he was as a musician, teacher, and scholar.

But our lack of knowledge was the fault of Sam, who never turned attention to himself. He always showed more interest in us – whether we were his fellow elders or members of his flock. He made us feel like he was honored to know us, blessed to be with us. We felt respected by him, loved by him. With his bright smile he would address us as, “my dear sister,” “my dear brother,” or “my dear friend.”

Elders and ministers will be amazed by this, but Sam was never flustered in a Session meeting, never raised his voice. When he spoke it was always with calmness, always God-centered, always respectful. He saw the hand of God in every storm, looked for the positive in every person and every situation.

I think that if I had to choose one trait that represented the life Sam displayed as an elder and fellow member at Tenth, it would be humility. Philippians 2:3-4 instructs: “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

That was Sam Hsu for us at Tenth. He looked to our interests. He counted us more significant than himself. We know the reason he treated us this way. He really did have the mind of Christ Jesus, “who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:6-8).

Yes, we at Tenth understand that Sam was a sinner saved by the grace of God. But as far as we are concerned, this was one man in whom the grace of God was displayed to us by how he lived and how he loved.


Post a Comment

<< Home