A Place at the Table – 39 – Cemetery
God, we ask as people of faith that You would teach us what it means to truly set our eyes on heaven and live as those who do not fear death. Prompt us toward forgiveness, restoration, and reconciliation so that we might see every day we have on this earth as a gift from You. We thank You that this life is not what we live for, but it is our unique chance to be about Your work and tell Your story to so many who need to hear it. Lead us into conversations about life and death and give us words of hope so that hope might replace fear. Amen.
There was a cemetery near where I grew up that I remember many times of us kids talking about going and playing Ghosts in the Graveyard after school. The cemetery had a really creepy sense about it whenever you walked by and even more so when you were playing in there (even when we probably shouldn’t have been). But there was a sense that a cemetery was a place to avoid at all costs – after all its where you go when someone has died, right? As a pastor though, cemeteries have taken on a different feeling. Yes they are still places where there is great grief and loss, but they are also places of reminders of the hope that we have in Christ. A hope that death does not have the final word. We are near to beginning Holy Week – a week where death and grief and loss play major parts. But we know the ending. Death does not have the final word. The grave is not the end. Life comes out of death. Light out of darkness.
One thing that stands out to me in the prayer is the discussion of life and death – just as we physically often want to avoid a cemetery, we also often want to avoid discussions of our living and our dying. As a pastor, I have seen this side as well that people pass away and have not talked to their families about their wishes (either leading up to death or for after). They are challenging conversations, but they are necessary conversations about some of the most important parts of our lives.