Memorial Day, Tending Graves & Resurrection Hope
When I was a kid my family would often travel on Memorial Day to the small community of Seibert, Colorado where my dad grew up. In a small cemetery on the outskirts of town, we would visit the graves of my dad's grandparents, and those of close friends and relatives.
I remember walking among the graves, reading the stones, and marveling at the small American flags that were placed by the those who had served in the military.
When my grandfather died when I was ten, those trips took on new meaning for all of us. My grandmother would refresh the flowers on his grave, and we would all stand quietly as she did--each of us thinking our own thoughts, remembering him in our own way.
Years later, I officiated at my grandmother's funeral and would visit that cemetery for the first time as an adult. I recall recognizing gravestones I had gazed at as a child, and for a moment it felt timeless, albeit the fresh dirt and clay from my grandmother's grave told a different story.
Today, I am thinking of that cemetery, and of all those years that we went and tended the graves of our loved ones. I am almost two thousand miles from that quiet place, come to think of it. Yet, I can close my eyes and see it so clearly, smell the dust and the sage in the air, feel the wind on my face.
This is a day of remembrance. We remember those who paid the ultimate price on the field of battle in service to our country. But like all holidays there are personal attachments that have affixed themselves to our traditions. And so many of us also remember all those beloved who have gone on before us--the great cloud of witnesses, who live in our hearts and our memories.
But we do not mourn as those who have no hope.
Because Jesus is risen, those who embrace a life in Him have the kind of defiant hope that has no fear of death or loss. Hear the words of our Lord and Savior today as you remember all those who you grieve.
“I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die." John 11:25-26
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.