Like most everyone else growing up in the USA, I experienced a good bit of influence that made cemeteries somewhat of a fright zone, especially during the warm summer evenings and the chilly autumn ones.
Thankfully, the more significant influence regarding cemeteries was the complete opposite--they were a place of peace, where the clay temples of many loved ones lay waiting...
One day, I believed (and still do) they would rise up and rally to the Messiah, when the archangel Gabriel sounds the call on his trumpet.
Those who live in Christ have access to joy, even when mourning. It comes from God alone, our Well that overflows.
From early childhood, I visited cemeteries frequently. I’m part of a large family, with an even greater circle of friends. My great-grandmother served as a minister for decades. I adored her and went with her anywhere she would take me, which was pretty much everywhere she went. Often those places were cemeteries. There she ministered to family and friends attending funerals. The services were comforting and not a bit spooky. The palpable emotions were a blend of both sorrow and joy.
When I was still an adolescent, yet old enough to have a growing need to spend time in prayer (meaning conversing with my Creator) I developed a habit of visiting Saulmon Cemetery, near Poseyville, Indiana.
I could walk there when visiting a family friend’s business, so I never had to ask for a ride, or explain why I wanted to go there. The properties nearly touched each other.
When I was nine years old, my great-grandfather’s memorial monument became my altar, and there on my knees, with my folded hands resting atop the beautiful granite, I surrendered myself to Yeshua, asking Him to be Lord of my life. He did, and Saulmon Cemetery has been one of my go-to places for private prayer, these many years since, at least while living in Indiana.
During many years in Texas, working in the funeral service industry, I was consistently reminded of the lovely aspects of cemeteries. Even the old, broken-down ones have a prevailing beauty.
Many of the larger Lone Star State cemeteries aren’t even called cemeteries, or graveyards, but are instead known as memorial parks.
They have paved paths and benches where guests can walk, and rest. Locals take walks in them when the weather is fair, often pushing their children through the park in strollers. I’ve even seen joggers use them, and wish the roller-bladers had considered skating through them, too.
The cemeteries and memorial parks are also sober reminders that life is a blessing. We may live to a very old age, but this life isn’t permanent.
That keeps every day I’m given in perspective--I do my best to spend the time trying to make a difference in good ways.
How can you help diminish the cemetery spook factor?
Lots of cemeteries are lacking in groundskeepers. If you have one in your area, maybe consider volunteering to help mow the place, or remove debris in your spare time.
If you have a larger memorial park near you, consider using it as a walking or jogging area, after-hours, of course. Many of the memorial parks have on-site security, making them a safe place for such afternoon activities.
There’s much to be appreciated in many cemeteries and memorial parks, from beautiful historic architecture, to duck ponds with glistening fountains and floral gardens equipped with places to sit and meditate, pray or just spend time being thankful for whatever blessings you can think of.
If you’ve been one of those who regarded cemeteries as creepy, then hoping this post will give you a new positive and refreshing point of view. They can only be as spooky as you choose them to be.
I choose otherwise and hope you will, too.
13 But we don’t want you to be ignorant, brothers, concerning those who have fallen asleep, so that you don’t grieve like the rest, who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Yeshua died and rose again, even so God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep in Yeshua. 15 For this we tell you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will in no way precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with God’s shofar. The dead in Messiah will rise first, 17 then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. So we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.
Thank you for your visit today! I hope, at the least, you’ve found the post to be informative.
If you regard cemeteries and memorial parks as something special, please consider leaving a comment as to why. Never know when it might help someone who’s grieving.
‘Til next time...
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