Dear God: My heart was so touched at Lupe’s funeral last night. The whole service was in Spanish—and I didn’t understand a word. Most of the crowd there was a motley collection of Alcoholics Anonymous attendees—and my many temptations don’t include booze. The Catholic service included innumerable Hail Marys (all in Spanish)—and I’m a Protestant. (After about thirty repetitions, I could actually say most of it.)
So it felt like a different universe there in the darkened Catholic funeral home, until my gaze fell on that painting hanging just behind the open casket. Jesus on the cross, shedding His blood for all of us. Defeating death and cemeteries and the job security of undertakers everywhere. I was gripped with the glorious truth that here was our only hope: Lupe’s and mine. And all those fallen, broken, recovering, hopeful sinners in that sweaty auditorium. Because Jesus died for our sins, one day soon Lupe can live again. The entire Temple City chapter of Alcoholics Anonymous can step forward to claim the promise of eternal life. And so can I.
I’m appreciative of the distinctive truths which have made me a Protestant Christian in the denomination of my upbringing. But my eternal hope resides in the Person of that painting on Los Tunas Avenue, uniting this fragile band of mourners in a common and wonderful redemption.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.
David B. Smith writes from Southern California.