Elvira Contreras Lopez’s graveside service was the morning after an evening visitation and funeral service held at Harvest Fellowship Church. Reverend Jose Leyva officiated at the morning service, saying “Thank you for supporting the family. It’s times like this our faith gets tested, and with God’s help, our faith is purified.”
He said, “Let us pray. Thank you God for the comfort of The Holy Spirit in this time of sorrow. Come and comfort our hearts. This is not the end but the beginning of Sister Lopez’s life.”
Her nephew Carlos Contreras, Sr. played a canto, Cruzando El Valle Voy (Crossing the Valley), a Spanish song sung at many funerals on the Contreras side.
CRUZANDO EL VALLE VOY
Cruzando el valle voy,
Hasta llegar allá
A la mansión de luz
Para vivir con mi Jesús
Ahí no habrá dolor
Ni llanto para mí;
Ahí yo cantaré
Que soy feliz con mi Jesús
Si alguno no le sigue,
Por no llevar la cruz,
Yo sigo, yo sigo,
Yo sigo a mi Jesús.
Rev. Leyva said it is a tradition for the Church to sing at all times. He spoke of the hope offered by the resurrection of Jesus Christ. “Job asks if a man dies, will he live again? If you leave a tree’s roots in the ground, it blooms again. I know my redeemer lives. After worms have eaten my body, I will see God.”
He spoke about the body of flesh as a tent that houses the soul. When the fabric deteriorates to the point it can’t be mended, when the time comes that medical science can’t fix the body, then a new tabernacle will be given to us. “This old tent is not a permanent place to live. Life is temporal. I am just passing by.”
Leyva, who is 80 years old, joked that he doesn’t make plans too far ahead at his age. “I don’t even buy green bananas any more,” he said. “You know you’re getting old when you receive a letter from French about funeral planning.”
Both Elvira and her surviving husband Guadalupe pre-planned their funerals. While the family was sad this day, her daughter Diana said that the advance funeral planning had made everything so much easier for the family.
“Solomon told us it comes before you know it,” said Rev. Leyva. “Our sister Lopez is speaking volumes about the wisdom to be ready.”
Before committing her body to the ground, Leyva said, “Earth has a claim on us. Adam was told you will return to the dust. With every ache, Earth is claiming what belongs to her… The physical body resurrects in a spiritual body – no more pains, no more suffering, no more cancer, high cholesterol, high blood pressure. We are transformed for the resurrection.”
“When we commit her body to the ground, we say goodnight, not goodbye,” said Leyva. He placed one rose and two carnations on the casket as he said, “Dust to dust, earth to earth, ashes to ashes. With the promise of the resurrection, we will be together forever.”
Attendees were invited to place flowers on the casket before departing to visit further with the family at a reception at the 4th Street Outreach Center of Youth Development Inc.
Memorial contributions may be made to American Cancer Society, 10501 Montgomery Blvd. NE, Suite 300, Albuquerque, NM 87111.