On Sunday I attended an early Remembrance Day ceremony in commemoration of our veterans. The place where the wreath laying was taking place was in a small village where I once lived. On the two-hour drive to the site my mind was full of memories, some good but many of them sad.
My sister had asked me to lay a wreath for my father and grandfather while she and my brother-in-law laid them for other family members. I was excited to take part in this until I got into my car and realized the magnitude of what I was about to do.
Dad died in 2010 and is buried in a beautiful little graveyard in the same village where the Remembrance Day ceremony was to take place. I had been close to my father and the pain of missing him started to roll over me as I drove closer and closer to that graveyard.
When I stepped out of the car in the shadow of the little country church with its graveyard where my father, mother, grandfather, grandmother, uncles, aunts, great uncles and great aunts are all buried I thought my heart would burst. A sense of loneliness swept over me and I literally wanted to cry because I missed them all so much.
I think God cries over us, in a figurative sense, because He misses us so much. The Bible portrays God as a searching God, seeking us out and inviting us home. It must crush His heart to be separated from the people that He loves and gave His all for.
Sitting in the little church I began to feel the sadness lift. We prayed, sang Amazing grace, had passages of Scripture read to us, along with the symbols of respect, of country, and remembrance of our veterans.
The church was packed solid with people and many of them were my cousins, second cousins and their families. We remembered the generation that sacrificed so much, but it also was a time of renewal for me. I talked to my cousins and was reintroduced to second cousins and their families. I felt part of a family again.
As I walked across the soft grass of the graveyard, leaves blowing around under my feet, I stopped under an ancient Maple tree. It was the first time in a long time, three years, since I had been to my parent’s grave. There is something lonely about a country graveyard where all your memories are buried with the people you love. For me those memories were sitting around my mom’s table with family eating her roasted chicken dinners. It was sitting in the front room talking baseball to my dad. It was the knowledge that whenever I showed up at their house I was loved and accepted. Standing in front of their grave all those memories were resurrected again and I just longed to see them one more time.
As a Christian I know that death is just a separation or interlude in one continuous life. I will see my parents again and my mother and father will hug me again.
On the ride home the sun began to get lower in the sky and the weather began to turn cold. It was a long ride home but it wasn’t lonely like the drive up. I knew I was going home to Ruth, friends, and the knowledge that in a few weeks my own children will be home for Christmas. I was going home to the people who loved me and I loved.
Wonderful and amazing memories lay under that Maple tree, but no grave can hold the love of God. My parents are safe in the arms of God and we are as well. Death, time, and space may separate us from our loved ones who have died, but that is not the end.
“We have a savior in Jesus, I know it is true, I know it is true” is more than a lyric from a song. It is the anthem of every Christian who faces the reality having lost a loved one. Because our savior lives, so do we.
Sitting in the country church we remembered our veterans. Taking communion with friends we remember that our separation from loved ones is not permanent because of Jesus love.
* Please take the time to read some of the stories of Christians who are experiencing persecution for their total commitment to Christ. They need our support and prayers.. http://thebeggardanced.com/nine-oclock-club/ there is much more on the internet…