A portal under the portico

John 12:24: Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.

Since the day of my mom's funeral in November, I've thought of writing about an experience I had that day. You may know I have seven siblings; five brothers and two sisters. The eight of us are pretty close. Seems to me the last year of tending to my mom more intensely knit us even tighter. Each sibling contributed in their own unique way to mom's care and support. She died in her assisted living room with a few of us there. The others came soon after so we could be together in our grief. It was precious time.

On the day of mom's funeral everyone; kids, grandkids, even great grands were involved. Those who didn't have speaking parts, contributed by singing with the family the first verse of the hymn Great is Thy Faithfulness before those filling Ridgewood Church joined for the rest of the song. The funeral honored mom's life and faith well with stories, laughter, tears, and recalling God's evident grace and care throughout her life. I cherish the memory of it. Yet, it was a moment after the service was done that holds the warmest ember in my soul.

At the end of the service, after the pastor spoke words of committal and resurrection hope, the organ postlude sounded. The eight of us - John, Sharon, Dale, Rick, Sandy, Mike, Ken and I took our places along the side of mom's casket as pallbearers. Together we directed it up the center aisle and through the narthex with the help of the cart beneath the casket. Until we reached the hurst parked under the portico. We stopped there. That's where we picked the casket up off its stand and bore the weight of my mom's body - together placing it where it needed to go. We hugged and cried and then turned around to see all of our spouses, children and grandchildren holding each other and weeping there under that portico. It was a holy moment for me. For a few seconds the veil between this life and the eternal realm of God overlapped in a luminous, otherworldly way. The verse I started with from John 12 came to mind. My mom's body would soon be placed in the ground and yet surrounding her in this holy moment was evidence of the fruit she bore, evidence of Divine love poured into her and passed on in ways that created a cornucopia of abundance.

Just a few days ago we added another grandson to our family. And I can't help but think about how the cycle continues. Death to life. Sorrow to joy. Seed to fruit. The paradoxes are so keenly felt right now. The beauty and the comfort in it is that God holds it all -from life's first cry to final breath.

Thanks be to God.