I don’t see dead people.
It would have been really awesome to start this blog with the words, “I see dead people.” But, alas, Bruce Willis is not my side kick, and I most definitely do not see dead people. But I do worship with them.
You see, I like cemeteries. ( Morbid, shmorbid) And when I go into one, my mind explodes with all the stories that were left untold. Every single headstone whispers a story. There are pictures, statues, attended (and very unattended) flower arrangements. There are small plaques and large temples honoring the life of…someone. Someone that somebody loved.
But the most powerful thing in a cemetery is not what I see at first glance. It’s what takes the second and third glances. It’s the worship.
One day a while back, I sat down next to a regular headstone. One of those that is about 2x3ft., grey with white letters, with no extra frills. No flowers, no garden gnomes, nothing. It was Edwin’s grave.
Edwin was 78 when he died.
But, Edwin (or someone else who didn’t tell Edwin) wanted everyone to know something. And it was this: “The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. 2 Samuel 22:2”
What made you say that, Edwin? Did you go through something terrible for which you needed a really big God? Or was your life easy, one that was secure from all travail? What kind of God must you have known?
And with that, I settled back on the grass and looked up at the sky. And I wondered what I would say of God at the end of my life? Who was he? And words began to fill my head…
And after a while, I sat up and looked over at Edwin’s stone.
Edwin. You and me…we just worshiped. Thank you for taking me to God.
This is not my only story of cemetery worship. Cemeteries are probably my favorite place to be with God and honor him. I think it’s because it’s the place where people who want their loved ones to be remembered, make their last stand. This is where their humanity and their mortality meet and are forever memorialized. This is the place where in just about 30 characters or less, legacies are etched in stone. And whether it’s a legacy defined by faith, like Edwin’s, or the tragic words of Ellie’s grave, “Just a moment in our hands, and forever in our hearts,” I always bow my knee to a God who knows.
He knows the end of their stories. He knows the reasons they’re gone. He knows their eternal fate. He knows. He knows the people who reluctantly left them there in that cemetery. He knows the reasons they cried or didn’t cry. He knows. He knows why Edwin loved him and why Ellie didn’t get the chance. He knows.
And because in the cemetery, among the silence of the crowd who resides there, I know nothing, all I can do is worship a God who has never had that problem.