As a little boy I dreaded those words which I only heard on beautiful, sunny Sunday afternoons, "Get in the car, we're going to the cemetery." Grudgingly I would climb into the blue 1966 Chevy Impala and sit back for what seemed to be an extremely long drive. "Why do we have to go to the cemetery," I thought? "It's a beautiful day. We don't get many beautiful days in Wisconsin, so why are we wasting something so precious to go to the cemetery?" My dislike for the cemetery didn't come from a cold heart, it was just that I had never met any of the people whose graves we visited, and so it was hard to make sense of what was going on. It seemed like we all stood over each grave, being very somber and silent, and then, after a certain amount of time, suddenly, somehow everyone would mysteriously know that it was time to move on to the next grave.
It wasn't until I experienced the reality of death in a personal way, when a high school friend died in a tragic accident, that I began to appreciate cemetery visits. The first time I went to his grave, I began to understand not only the finality of his death, but the inevitability of my own death.
An occasional walk through a cemetery is an important spiritual experience for it is a powerful reminder that each one of us is broken and we can't heal ourselves. The cemetery reminds us that death destroys everything we are and have in life. Everything...everything ends with the last breath. As we gaze upon the graves, we are forced to ask life's most important question, "Is death the end?" If the answer is "yes", then the rest of our lives will be spent avoiding the cemetery and any thought of dying? It's a futile way to live, but if death is the end, what else is there to do?
Jesus Christ answered the question over whether death is the end or not in a very different way. He boldly said that any human being who puts their trust in him as Lord and Savior will pass through death and live eternally. If what he says is true, is there anything more urgent or necessary in life than to answer his invitation to follow him?
Join us this Sunday at 10:00 am. It's time to stop dreading the cemetery!