Inspired by an old New England cemetery, Robert Frost penned “In a Disused Graveyard.” Consider his poem:
The living come with grassy tread
To read the gravestones on the hill;
The graveyard draws the living still,
But never anymore the dead.
The verses in it say and say:
“The ones who living come today
To read the stones and go away
Tomorrow dead will come to stay.”
So sure of death the marbles rhyme,
Yet can’t help marking all the time
How no one dead will seem to come.
What is it men are shrinking from?
It would be easy to be clever
And tell the stones: Men hate to die
And have stopped dying now forever.
I think they would believe the lie.
Why were the dead no longer brought to the old cemetery? Was the cemetery full? Had a new cemetery opened for business? We’re not told; however, one thing we can be certain of is people haven’t “stopped dying now forever.” The stones might be fooled, but not us.
So, where are the dead ones? Cemeteries continue to fill and bodies continue to decay, but what becomes of the persons once housed in these earthly tents?
For the Christian, death is only separation.
James describes it thusly, “The body without the spirit is dead.” Paul adds, “To be absent from the body is to be at home with the Lord.”
For the Christian, death is a transition from one state to a much better one. This better state the psalmist calls the “house of the Lord.” Jesus refers to it as his “Father’s house.” Paul simply calls it “home.”
Jesus left heaven and gave his life on earth to reconcile mankind back to God. He made it possible for heaven to be our home.
Don’t believe the lie. Men haven’t “stopped dying now forever.” One day each of us must pass through “the valley of the shadow of death.” What then?
Make Jesus the Lord of your life and make heaven your home. Eat of the Tree of Life and drink from the Living Waters and “dwell in the house of the Lord forever!”
Ken Haskins is pastor of First Christian Church in Carson City.