the funeral

A place of beauty – adorned by plain dirt floors, citronella candles, a small bouquet of roses, simple, hurting, grieving people, sitting in the warm night weeping, remembering their friends taken tragically. People questioning, not understanding.

The church, too small to hold all the people and the service held with the porch as a makeshift stage, the podium placed beside the intricately carved double wooden doors. Some were seated on under hastily raised tents, but most sat on plastic chairs under the tars, stretching into the street, effectively blocking traffic. It was no occasion for traffic, a scene so captivating that a passer-by might linger for just a moment to breathe the intoxicating citronella incense and listen, if only for a moment to the stories of life lived fully and without regret – to hear pain and confusion, but also beauty and hope, to watch the expression of beautiful, simple people, many of whom had nothing to offer but their tears and time, hoping to find peace and hope in the company of others. Young and old, rich and poor, it was the essence of community, drawn together because of a common faith and hope – a faith in a Savior who promises a hope for nights and places such as this – a hope that overcomes despair – a hope of life abundant that leads to life eternal.

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