Changing the Human Heart

Changing the Human Heart

Like many old rural churches located in the southern United States, our
church has a cemetery on our property. It really is a quiet and peaceful
setting. So, why mention a cemetery during the Easter season? Well, a
cemetery is a somber reminder that this life is finite. As Scripture
reminds us, “And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and
after that comes judgment,…” (Hebrews 9:27 ESV). As finite as this
life is and as final as death in this life seems, we all will face judgment at

some point after the end of this life… judgment from a Holy God. For me
a cemetery is a good reminder of that and Easter.
Just this week, I took some time to meander through our cemetery.
Being one that enjoys history, I found the different grave markers
interesting and representative of many varied lives:  individuals who
were born as early as 1811, sadly, many graves of infants and young
children, others with long years lived out on earth, some during the most
conflicted times of our nation’s history. One marker gave evidence of a
wife and mother, who had lived over 100 years! Even with all the
interesting history and untold stories of people in our cemetery, I was
struck by one constant thought… How many of those souls had been
real believers and followers of Jesus Christ as the point of their physical
death.
That is why I believe a cemetery is a great symbol for Easter. For
Christians, the finality of a earthen grave, a marker, a stone, etc. are all
temporary. Alas, the Christian believes that he will literally rise up from
that grave upon the return of Jesus Christ. Scriptures calls it a
resurrection (1 Thessalonians 4:16). This Sunday, Christians around
the world will assemble in all types of settings to celebrate the
resurrection of Jesus Christ that actually took place in real time some
2,000 years ago. This is the foundation of the Christian faith. Without the
resurrection of Jesus Christ, Christians might as well go to a cemetery
(or anywhere else) and “bark at the moon”. Paul expresses this a bit
more eloquently in 1 Corinthians 15:12-19. The historical and spiritual
truth that Jesus Christ was crucified, dead, and buried, and on the third
day rose up out of the grave is what separates Christianity from every
other world religion. Our God and Savior is indeed alive! As the old hymn
states, “He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus live today!”.
So, this Easter or any other time, when you pass a cemetery (maybe by
an old rural church in the South), take time to ponder how temporary our
“final resting place” is and how eternal is what follows our physical death.
My prayer for each of you, who is a believer in Jesus Christ, is that you
will truly CELEBRATE the great gift of eternal life that has been granted
to you through the sacrifice of Christ. More importantly, for those of you
reading this that don’t understand the significance of a cemetery and

Easter, I pray God will awaken you to the truth of his Gospel and the
resurrection of Jesus Christ so you too can celebrate. Maybe stop by an
old rural church with a cemetery…I believe you would find many who
would love to tell you about it.
Happy EASTER!
For His Glory,
Your Pastor

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