Thursday, October 30, 2008

Ash Branch Church Cemetery

Upon leaving Pembroke, I saw it. Over on the right was the Ash Branch Primitive Baptist Church. But, what really got my attention and caused me to stop was the cemetery. I knew from some genealogical research done years ago that a great-great-grandmother was buried in the Ash Branch Church Cemetery in an unmarked grave. I had to stop and stand for a few minutes on that ground. Of course, I had no idea where she was buried, but I knew that long ago some of my family came to that very spot, dug a grave, and left a loved one. How different it was then! Such moments are moments that bring strange feelings to the the surface. Questions get raised that have no possible answers. There is just that sense of suddenly being connected to something or someone. I walked around for a time knowing that others before me who bore my name and whose DNA I carry walked here long before me.

They long ago walked on those grounds made sacred by the prayers of so many as I walked on them only days ago. Long ago on a journey such as theirs, I learned about the hope which enables us to leave such places with a confidence that the last word has not been spoken. Anyone who has been to the cemetery and left without the one carried there knows about the hope that is in my heart. Standing there I was caused to catch a little glimpse of heaven as Hebrews 12:1 came to mind with its powerful image: "...since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses..." Like you, I know some of those who dwell in the heavenly place. Ash Branch Church Cemetery reminded me of one as my heart raced to remember others. You might say that All Saints Sunday Worship came early this year. When I join with others this Sunday to remember those who have gone before us in the past year, I will be remembering that Tuesday afternoon moment when I became aware of the fellowship and communion of the saints at the Ash Branch Church Cemetery. It was a moment of blessing. I left with my heart stirred and encouraged by the overwhelming awareness of unleashed resurrection power. Thanks be to God!


Anonymous said...

Last night I was able to pray with a woman who was fleeing domestic violence. I prayed that she would know the great cloud of witnesses that surrounded her encouraging her to meet each day with new strength. I guess I need to know the same in my own life.

Maria said...

Rev. Bill, This may sound weird but I enjoy going to cemetaries where my ancestors are buried. It gives me a connection, too, especially to those I never even knew but maybe just heard about. It somehow gives me a sense of who I am.