The Hymn: Whiter Than Snow
Lord Jesus I long to be perfectly whole,
I want Thee for ever to live in my soul,
Break down every idol, cast out every foe..
Now wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.
Whiter than snow...yes, whiter than snow..
Now wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.
The day of the funeral had come…
It had snowed in the night and we awoke to a glorious white covering…so fresh and clean. Perfect for this day.
One of the village ladies whose children played with mine, offered to babysit for the funeral. We felt it best at their young age not to be overwhelmed with the thoughts of death. They knew their baby brother was in Heaven with the LORD and they were at peace in their young hearts.
I stepped out on our balcony to breathe in the fresh crisp air of the morn. I loved it when it snowed. I can’t explain its pleasure….just refreshing…and that I needed this day.
Claudine had come by and set things up for the little reception to follow at our home. She had everything prepared and her lovely lace apron ready.
Kathryn came to the house early…her presence almost brought Stephen back to life…for there was a new life in Christ with us. LIFE….full of joy and happiness, that she had not known before. She knew GOD as her Saviour and she had the assurance of Eternal LIFE.
As the time approached to go to the cemetery, I picked up the flowers I had purchased the day before to put on Stephen’s grave. A HUGE…bouquet of yellow…Daffodils and Carnations. The same flowers given to me when he was born…the Daffodils that surrounded me in the springtime of this trial. I love these flowers.
With the flowers in my arms, my husband carried the ashes in the little box, finished with our own loving hearts and hands, Kathryn walked with us to the cemetery.
There standing silently on the snow covered ground as I can recall were,
Jack and Anne Marie, Claudine, her husband and mother in law, the Pastor of the village and ten village representatives.
We were so touched by the people who came to support us and bring comforting smiles. The village people showed that they weren’t there just to be representatives...but truly came out of compassion and wanted us to know that as a whole, the village cared.
We placed Stephen’s ashes in the openings that was surrounded by piles of snow. I was so relieved that it wasn’t just a dirt mound. The snow seemed to make such a statement for us.
The service began with the Pastor speaking and reading our requested scripture.
I Corinthians 15:51-58
Behold I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed.
In a moment, in the twinkling o f any eye, at the last trump: for the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
These verses in particular,
I Thessalonians 4:13-18
But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, with the trump of god: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the LORD in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
Where for comfort one another with these words.
My husband then prayed. Prayed as these people had never heard before.
A prayer from the heart of a man who had just lost his own child. A prayer that was not memorized or planned. Sincere words of gratitude for all that GOD had done for us. Words manifesting who our Saviour was…the LORD JESUS CHRIST and a prayer to comfort those listening with the comfort we ourselves held within our bosom.
The final verse:
Psalm 116:18 Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.
This verse we painted on the white cross for Stephen’s grave.
We covered the box with a mound of snow, and then placed the cross at the head of the grave where I also lay the yellow daffodils. The yellow seem to be so much brighter on the whiteness of the snow. A lovely picture of purity and hope.
The beauty of the whiteness gave such comfort of hope …no sin is found in him…he is a saint by the LORD Jesus. The innocence of my son….covered. Sainthood not of man or by means of any other way. A child of innocence…covered by grace. And Kathryn, a saint; sins washed away by the cleansing blood of the LORD Jesus shed on Calvary for the remission of all sin. A saint by HIS righteousness.
There we all held hands in closing prayer.
My husband and I stayed back for a while as the others walked up to our home.
We stood quietly together and said our goodbyes… but it is temporary…
Praise God … we know we shall see him again!
The funeral day .... JANUARY 31st
the same day we had closed on our home one year earlier...
the beginning of our Journey of Hope
and this day the end of our trial, filled with hope.