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
11 thoughts on “Beholding the Bride at the Funeral.”
My feeble words cannot express my deep sorrow for you and your a Family, Amy Jo. Your deep Faith in Our God is pure love and precious example for all to see. Your words will not go wasted. They will start a spark in someone’s heart and melt away their indifference. Your words and testimony will be the beginning of a journey back to Him. God will bless you for your faithfulness. I love you.
Thank you so much for all of your encouragement of me and my family over these past two years. You are a true treasure to me!
Very powerful, thank you sister. Jesus has a beautiful bride and her glory has shined in your suffering. Praise God.
Thank you Pastor,
Thank you for your faithful message you spoke the Thursday before my son passed and thank you for your continued encouragement of me.
Pretty Amazing words Amy Jo…You definitely are shining the Lord’s light in this world. Thank you.
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Thank you Jane, that means a lot coming from you. Blessings to you.
I remember this day well. I share your feelings with the overwhelming presence of the LORD in that sanctuary. Our son touched more souls than I could have ever imagined. He now resides with his Father in Absolute Victory. Amen.
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I am so very glad that you were with me on this day, you give me so much strength. I love you.
Beautifully worded, so well written, truly from the heart. I mourn Chiles passing with you and hold you and your family so close in my heart. May God grant you His peace and may we rejoice knowing Chile is with our LORD and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Keep sharing your tender thoughts, they minister to so many….
Thank you so much. I miss him so very much.
You have always been so faithful in our friendship and faithful to remind me of HEAVEN where my savior and my son are. I appreciate your time in reading my thoughts and your constant encouragement. I adore you!!