[Papercut Press] 2002-05-14 - Visiting Tombs

Part 3

John 11:31 The Jews then who were with her in the house, and consoling her, when they saw that Mary rose up quickly and went out, followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to weep there.

As I drove past the large cemetery that is near my house on Sunday I noticed that it was full of people and cars. It was Mother's Day. I felt sad that so many must feel more pain than joy on this day that many remember their mothers. We have in the verse we started with an example of Mary going to visit the grave of Lazarus. It does not seem that this practice is nixed in the Bible. A grave is a remembrance of the person who had lived. It might be asked if we must be buried or can we be cremated. The Bible seems to suggest that either is fine. In 1 Samuel 31:12 we find that Saul and his sons were burned at Jabesh.

This will be the third time that I have taken a day and given some gravestone epitaphs from country church yards. They are interesting to read, better to consider, best to apply. This is how either the dead person wished to be remembered, as there was a practice of writing your epitaph out before you died, or this is how their family wished the world to remember their lost loved one. I hope that such a morbid contemplation is still edifying to you today. (Don't miss out on the poetic nature of them.)

Epitaph 1:
Of a Young Worldly Woman
Here lies, what once, in beauty's bloom
Was every eye's delight;
But now, the tenant of a tomb,
Its form would shock our sight.
The soul that breath'd within the clod,
Fled in the pride of youth;
Learn hence betime to seek thy God,
And choose the way of truth!

Epitaph 2:

Forbear to ask, Whose dust lies here,
Beneath the turf or stone?
Remember, thou must soon appear
Before thy Judge's Throne!

Epitaph 3:

Where is thy sting, O Death?
And where thy victory, Grave?
The ransom's sinner yields his breath
To Him, who died to save.

Epitaph 4:

Is there some fond enchanting tie,
That fetters thee to earth?
And does the thought, that thou must die,
Make thee lament thy birth?
O rise beyond these meaner things,
These poor terrestrial toys;
Peace from a heavenly fountain springs,
And swells to endless joys.

Epitaph 5:

Our body, as the food for worms, is loath'd,
A shroud is all that it can boast of dress;
But every soul for heav'n that's duly cloth'd
Shines in the robe of Christ's own righteousness.

Soli Deo Gloria,
T-

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