As we prepare for homecoming, I am reminded of the cemetery right outside? It’s not so common these days, but we are blessed with a constant reminder of those saints who made our journey possible by their faith and service.
As I prepare, I remember how the architecture always tells a story, especially with churches. Church buildings tend to reveal our values, sometimes even our worldview. The building we are meeting in today has beautiful windows given for future generations, no pastoral office, I wonder if that reflects a vision for emphasis on the priesthood of all believers and their intention to raise up leaders and teachers from within. We are blessed with a beautiful worship and educational space as well as a wonderful fellowship. I wonder how those in our graveyard would see our usage of these facilities?
As I think more of our graveyard, I believe it is a good addition to our modern church landscape. There is nothing like a tombstone in your peripheral vision to remind you of the eternal realities at stake in how we deal with God. As I walk through the graveyard from time to time looking at the names, I think what better reminder could there be that all our earthly hopes and dreams will someday come to dust? “Only one life, ’twill soon be past / Only what’s done for Christ will last.”
I wonder how much more diligent we would be during the week about spreading the seed of the gospel, if every Sunday when we drive slowly by a whole garden planted with the worn husks of people waiting for the Harvest? If we remembered the faith and sacrifice, they made so we can have this opportunity to continue the legacy of spreading the gospel.
I wonder how it would affect our appreciation for the church as being something far more than a weekend event or a social club if we think of our deceased brothers and sisters interred right here among us? A heavenly bride, an eternal kingdom, a mighty army, a holy temple, a loving family—this is what the Bible tells us we are, whether young or old, alive or dead.
I wonder how much more carefully we’d use our time if here on our own church grounds were the dusty bones of folks whose schedules were once just as hectic, whose roles were once just as important, and whose fleeting moments were once just as precious as our own?
In a word, I wonder how much wiser we’d be if our church remembered our graveyard, the sacrifice and faith of those who speak from the grave to us to continue to spread the gospel until Jesus comes?
Lord, teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12