Ten days before the funeral I had my feet firmly planted in the grass in front of the Washoe County Medical Examiners Office. We had just come out of identifying our son and collecting his belongings, everything that was on his body was now in a simple manila envelope, I held it close to my heart in hopes of feeling some kind of warmth from him, but it was cold, like the photograph we had identified him from. Standing in the grass I heard my husband come up behind me and say “honey what are you doing?” I just stood there, I didn’t ever want to move, I replied, “my son is in there and I am not leaving him.” I knew this would be one of the last times I was close to Chile”s body. I knew this would be the start of the process of saying goodbye over and over again in a million different ways. Jason sweetly took me to the car where I just kept repeating, “Chile is in there don’t leave!” I felt the reassuring embrace of both my daughters hands on my shoulders wrapped around me from the back seat. “Mom Chile is not in there, Mom Chile is in Heaven.” And the Bride was ushered in…
In my faith the body of believers are referred to as the Bride of Christ, now I know to people who are not yet believers this can sound like a weird cult name, I mean it did to me, but when you think about it, there is nothing more beautiful than a bride and in the christian culture there is nothing as beautiful as the body of believers coming together to administer help and healing to a broken saint. The minute that the multitude of people in my circle heard that we had lost our son the flood gates of compassion, prayers, food, wine, tissues, lanyard’s, chocolate, flowers, Facebook posts and visitors opened up. So many people came to our home you would have thought we were having a party, but nothing could compare to the supernatural Glory of God that made itself evident on the day of the funeral even in spite of the Ozzy Osborne music playing in the background.
Over 400 people came to the funeral, they were literally out on the door steps of the Brewery Arts Center. I remember telling Jason I didn’t think we would need a big venue, I mean Chile was very selective with his friends but I had forgotten that Chile belonged to a body of believers who are called to “rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.” And that is exactly what we did that day!! The first time in my skepticalhearted, feeble christian walk I began to see the absolute privilege of being called christian. God with his generous heart lets us be ambassadors of heaven to show the world dim visions of what it will be like. At the funeral I saw this for the first time in my 25 year-long journey with Christ. It is as if each person in the receiving line hugged me around my heart and wept tears straight into my spirit. I felt the strength and warmth of God sent down from Heaven through the people who bore his image and soon this funeral felt like a wedding celebration, where the beauty of the bride makes you weep with brokenhearted joy. Where your spirit knows for certain that God is working all things out for those who believe and that He is as near to the brokenhearted, as near as a breath, as a whispered prayer, as a tear soaked cheek. Could it be that in some of my darkest hours I was actually seeing the pure white beauty of Christ? Had I been invited to a magical miraculous matrimony where water was turned into wine? Was the bridal veil being lifted from my eyes to behold the groom of Heaven? Was suffering an invitation to see the created world through unveiled eyes? C.S. Lewis is famous for saying that “God shouts to us in our pain.” I believe this to be true. I believe on February 19, 2016 I heard God shouting with a gloriously booming voice “Here! Here She Comes! Here comes the Bride”…..
Photo Credit: Kippy Spilker