Sunday, March 24, 2013

Blessings of the Resurrection: Cemeteries

We are celebrating the Resurrection of our Savior this week!  or Easter...    I still get flashbacks from my childhood when I did not understand what the holiday was all about as we did not celebrate the pagan side of the Easter holiday in my home. 
We walked into church on an Easter Sunday, and there in the foyer was a large picture of the Savior after His Resurrection. I remember stopping at this picture and feeling,
 "this is Easter." 
 Since then, I have felt a connection to and been fascinated with pictures of the resurrection, and want to understand it more.
What really is the resurrection?
This week as we lead into Easter Sunday, when we celebrate the Resurrection of our Savior,  I will be having a guest writer on my blog, my 79 year old Dad.  This actually comes from a talk he gave in Sacrament Meeting several years ago.  It was so well done and so perfect for this week, that with his permission, I will be sharing excerpts from his talk all week long.
Thanks Dad.


" Like all of you, I have walked through a few graveyards during my lifetime. I have stood and looked at seemingly endless rows of white crosses in Gettysburg, Vicksburg, and other Civil War cemeteries.
I have not had the privilege to visit the shores of Normandy or stand over the sunken ships at Pearl Harbo, but I've see those places by various pictures and movies.
I have visited Arlington National Cemetery and watched them change the guard at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
I have stood at the grave site of the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum and walked through that old pioneer graveyard in Nauvoo and Winter Quarters. I have visited the unmarked grave sites of the many who died at Martin's Cove in Wyoming.
I have often walked through the cemetery in my small home town in Illinois where my parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents are buried, and a sister.  I have visited my great-grandparents grave in Indiana and walked through numerous cemeteries in Ohio looking for ancestors that we know are there somewhere.  Grave sites do not move around but without proper records, grave sites can be elusive.
We have to remind ourselves as we visit such places where countless dead reside that all these individuals who have gone to the grave, played a vital role in life. They loved and were loved.  When they died they left a defining void in the lives of those who knew and loved them. They were greatly missed.
Graveyards are sacred places. We often walk there silently and reverently remembering the lives of those we loved or wishing we had known.  But they are also fun places to visit.  There is a story told and a bit of history on each gravestone.
You have all had similar experiences.
Some of you have had more personal experiences of visiting the grave site of a child or a spouse.  My life has not yet been burdened with that experience.
The one thing that graveyards and grave sites have in common is that those people buried there have all died and passed through life.  Their turn on earth is completed.  As they say, they have stepped over the threshold of death.  Some died in their old age, some died far too young.  Others died tragically and unexpectedly or on the field of battle.

As we survey the graveyard we remember the days when those individuals blessed our lives and we long for the time we will embrace them again.
All of us must die.  Death is as much a part of the great plan of happiness as birth.  Death would be sad and dismal without that knowledge.  The bleakness of death is illustrated in teh owrds of Shakespeare, "the undiscovered country from which no traveler returns"
That puts a dark twist on death but our Savior Jesus Christ changed all that through the Resurrection. He broke the bonds of death when He rose the third day after his crucifixion.

The declaration, "He is not here.  But is risen." are the most profound of all words ever spoken or written.