Monday, June 23, 2014

The Speaking Dead

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.
II Timothy 4:7-8

We walk in the sunny graveyard, crisscrossing through the ancient stones. So many souls . . . sleeping, buried beneath us, buried to face the rising sun. All around the air is still, hushed, and there are not many people about, not many who like to walk among graves. But hundreds of souls beneath us . . . hundreds who have gone on, gone on to ultimately face the One who will judge the quick and the dead . . .

The pale stones, monuments over the righteous and the unrighteous, shrouding this world’s deeds in silence, a silence that only heaven will break open with the unsealing of the scroll, the day that every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord, to the glory of the Father.

Walking through the graveyard . . . old Burial Hill, Plymouth’s hidden treasure . . . a lush pasture of history. The stones, so many broken down, so many neglected . . . this place forgotten, and perhaps feared.

We go into the church, the beautiful, old church, silent and hollow . . . a graveyard of what once was. And the echo of thick walls speaks volumes of agony, agony over what has been forgotten, forgotten and forsaken.

And the bodies of these men, men and women, laying cold in the ground, the shadows of their lives hovering between time and eternity. The faithful souls of old pilgrims . . . the monument remembering the life of missionary Adoniram Judson, who endured suffering for His Lord.

And the ocean is lovely in the distance; we can see it clearly from where we stand. The sun, glorious in the sky and the aching clouds, hushed over the horizon, hovering over this earthy place of stones and grass and flowers and men and whispers of deeds done and left undone.

And others . . . only God knows what they valued, what they forsook or chose not to forsake for His sake, whether their souls were washed in the Blood and the crystal water of the Word. Only He knows . . . 

And what does He know about me? What words will my deeds speak? Will they give testimony to a life of faith or faithlessness? To days lived for my own pursuits or for His glory?

What has mattered to me in this life? My own comfort or the dying to self and living for Him in every area of each day? Have I taken His grace for my failings or do I seek to justify myself, to cover them up in pride?

What is going to matter when I lay down my tired old body and my eyes are closed in death’s impenetrable sleep? Will it matter whether I held down a high-paying job? Whether I earned my Master’s degree? Whether I drove a new SUV?

Will it matter if I attended every Bible study class? Whether I ate organic vegetables? Whether my children wore Gap and Land’s End? Whether I lived in an upscale community? Whether I brought my re-useable bags with me to the grocery store?

What will ultimately matter?

The blood of Christ . . . a life of faith through His Spirit . . . His pleasure through the blood of His Son . . .

We love Thy name, we love Thy laws
And joyfully embrace Thy cause;
We love Thy cross, the shame, the pain,
O Lamb of God for sinners slain.

We sink beneath the water’s face,
And thank Thee for Thy saving grace;
We die to sin and seek a grave
With Thee, beneath the yielding wave.

~Adoniram Judson

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