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Love your Churchyard!

Churchyards are good places to be! It might sound odd to say that, but are there many better places where you would wish to lay a loved one to rest? And for the living in the midst of all the upheavals of life a churchyard speaks to us of the things which are eternal, things which are stable, the things which are beyond our own limited horizons of time and space.


One of the things we are reminded of by the present pandemic is that death is never too far away. We might try all the tools of modern medicine, and even become assertive with medical staff in the belief that somehow they can sort it if they try harder, but there are some fights none of us can win. “For all our godlike technologies, we are still just biological organisms” I read recently. In the same way as the pandemic has had a levelling effect in that none of us can go for a holiday or do lots of other things, so death is an even more efficient leveller. In the churchyard power and prestige are reduced to dust, even if some people have more elaborate headstones and wonderful inscriptions than others.


It is of course absolutely right that we fight for every life, and of course it is right that we grieve every loss, but in the end we must try calmly and humbly to accept nature’s (and God’s) way. A churchyard reminds us of that need. At the same time we are reminded that the love which once flourished in the lives of those at rest, and is mirrored in the loving inscriptions, is part of a Love which is stronger than Death. That is the Easter story of Resurrection and Ascension.


We will grieve not, rather find Strength in what remains behind; In the primal sympathy Which having been must ever be; In the soothing thoughts that spring Out of human suffering; In the faith that looks through death, In years that bring the philosophic mind.

William Wordsworth: Ode on Intimations of Immortality (1807)

If all this sounds a bit heavy here is something lighter to smile about.


Newspaper headline:

Typhoon Rips Through Cemetery; Hundreds Dead

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