Monday, May 17, 2010

A Place of Peace

By Belinda
John 11:25 (New International Version)

25Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies;

As Rob and I wander among the rows of graves in the village churchyard, he points out name after familiar name. A lawn mower drones nearby, and every few minutes someone passes through going this way or that. The churchyard is not a lonely place.

So many of the recent headstones belong to people or families we knew growing up. Here people are not laid to rest among strangers and the community of those who are at rest, seems as real as the people bustling around the streets.

Down the hill below the church, in my mum's snug flat, tucked beneath the duvet at night, I listen to the church clock as it chimes the hours over the dark church yard and I think of my father lying there for7 years now. It is a pleasant place to be, beneath the ancient trees and surrounded by peaceful, rolling, green hills. He would have not wanted to rest anywhere else.

One  headstone belongs to my old headmaster, Mr. Lowe. For 3 happy years, from 1959 to 1961 I attended Alvechurch Church of England primary school.

Mr. Lowe was a man of military bearing with a mustache, fresh complexion and kind eyes. I see him in my mind's eye, walking, hands behind his back like a sergeant major and always in a dark suit, buttoned in the middle.

I noticed that the scripture on his headstone is incorrect--I can't seem to help seeing these things. "The resurrection and the light," should be "The resurrection and the life." And I wonder if that drives him nuts--to be so permanently memorialized with a misquote when he was a reader at the church and would definitely have caught it himself!
Probably not! After all he is now with the one who is both the Light of the World, and the Resurrection and the Life!


Marilyn said...

I enjoy a walk through a churchyard and reading the stones, imagining the stories of those lives. Rich thoughts! (I have a retreat talk I give that uses cardboard gravestones as props. I keep them stashed in the guest room closet and some people who have stayed in that room have wondered about them. :-) )

I like how you wondered what your former teacher might think of the error.

Dave Hingsburger said...

I'm afraid that graveyards have always icked me out. I feel a sense of such incredible loss when walking through them. It's not a fear of death but something else, something deeper.