I had the privilege of attending a funeral wake today.
Our monsoonal Mumbai cleared up for a bit and we actually had some rays of sun. The cool leafy green of the trees in the small compound framed the scene - a ground floor of the appartment where Uncle had lived his last days - now a meeting point to thank God for his life.
The group was singing Hindi songs - Sione Desh, Hamare He Desh (Zion country, its our Country...)
The coffin was open. Uncle's body was there - the family was around it - his quietly greiving wife, Varkey his son, Nancy his daugther in law, one grand child sat for some time - the other was playing outside.
It is good to go to funerals. We taste life so much stronger in the presence of death.
We also realise how absolutely wrong death is. Stanley talked about this. His words were light - his bearing dignified but not stooped. His hope was clear. God's words spoke through Stan.
Uncle is no more - we do not pray for his soul - we know that Jesus is delighted with him. While we know the family feels his loss - it is death that is the real enemy. And Jesus has stretched out his hands wide enough to swallow death and all its horrors - and so we do not grieve like those without hope.
We cry. And I did. But with the real knowledge that God is here. And that death has been defeated - if we trust Jesus.
He is our champion.
Both as the victor and conquerer - and as our advocate and guide.
See you soon Uncle!