Note: This is an archive of an earlier post written while I was in Indonesia about a funeral for one of the women we worked with.
With full hearts and tired eyes we dragged ourselves to the community Sunday morning. All of us dressed to the hilt in batik and head coverings. We arrived in time for the final ceremony as they buried the body. Ibu L was wrapped in white cloth and batik and placed in a shelf six feet under the jungle floor. The cousin leaders were in the hole praying over the body. As we approached the grave site you could hear the subtle strong rythm of Arabic prayers calling out for the salvation of their sister, mother, and friend’s soul. After the last of the preliminary prayers the men laid bamboo poles over the shelf in the hole and mounded the dirt covering her.
Her brother, religious leader, and community leader all spoke reminding us of her good deeds and life well lived. They reminded us that our good deeds in her honor brought her credit before God. Finally at the end they recognized everyone of importance that honored Ibu L by attending. They thanked friends, family, leaders in the area, and in the end each person who spoke thanked us for care and love for her and her community we expressed over the last several weeks. This culminated in them asking our leader to speak over her and to the community. Culturally this is recognizing our contributions their society and calling us a part of their community and lives. More prayers were prayed and then everyone slowly walked away Now for the next week her soul will be prayed for continuously and then every seventh day, forty days, one year, two years, and a thousand days.
Thank you, Lord, for the confidence we have in your final sacrifice and the completeness of our salvation. Please bring this assurance to their lives and take away the fear and darkness that looms over death.
We went back to T- Town and rest and processed for the next day and a half. We have been working through her death, the warfare we experienced, the funeral, final good byes, and our translators going back home. We have three more weeks here, but it already seems like our time is coming to a close. This old hymn was brought to mind while I processed everthing.
Precious Lord, take my hand.
Lead me home, Let me stand.
I am tired, I am weak, I am worn.
Through the storm, through the night
Lead me on to the light.
Take my hand, Precious Lord, Lead me home.