Saturday, May 23, 2009
Memorial Day is full of, well, memories for me. The graves of my closest relatives are located in two small cemeteries, which are both close to the home where I grew up. One was almost across the road from our house. My dad's relatives are buried there. The graves of my mother's relatives are in a cemetery about 12 miles from my parents' home. Every Memorial Day, we would go to the closest one and place flowers on graves. The other cemetery had an annual flag ceremony, in which flags were placed on the graves of all the veterans. Stirring music would be played over the loud speakers, and a short speech given by a local dignitary. It was always a challenge to hurry and put flowers by head stones before the ceremony began.
The wonderful things about this tradition were, first of all, that I learned so much about my ancestors. Who was married to whom. Whose parent was this? Whose child was this? How am I related to this person? Another great thing was that we often saw friends and relatives that were visiting for the weekend. As I grew older, the meaning of it all became more somber and deeper to me, as I lost my grandmother and others over that time.
As an adult, having lived out of state, nearer to my husband's relatives, I have gleaned even more from this day. For instance, my husband's infant brother is buried in one of the Detroit suburbs. Our oldest son is named after him. There is such a sense of pride when I see the flags waving on the graves of my uncle and my husband's grandfather: men who served their country bravely.
Of course, as time passes, there will be more graves of loved ones, more memories...not something I look forward to.
But there is definitely a great spiritual lesson here as well. As Christians, there is no cemetery where we go to a grave marker and remember the death of our Lord. Simply the reminder that there is an EMPTY grave...death could not hold Him! But why not also take this opportunity to reflect on His death and resurrection, and all that it means to us? And on the glories of the future resurrection for "all who love Him and His appearing?"