Posted in theology

Of Cemeteries and Monuments

By Elizabeth Prata

I like visiting cemeteries. I always have. I grew up next to a large one. It was beautiful and even had a beautiful name. Stone columns adorned either side of the entry and a babbling brook ran in front and all along the side. Gentle hills were fun to swoop my bike down and were not hard to pedal up. Huge pine trees looking like Christmas trees allowed a solitude-seeking girl to part the boughs and lay inside the greenery on a bed of pine needles, reading Nancy Drew, at once protected and apart from the world. I liked that cemetery for its quietude, but I was not yet old enough to really ponder the eternality of those residing in it, under the ground.

Cemetery next to where I grew up. Google photo

I enjoyed the cemeteries we looked at in the Pews and Pulpits Ramble I took a few years ago. It was a historical tour of old Georgia churches with their adjacent cemeteries. Lots to look at, including unusual graves and monuments.

Barnett Cemetery in Warrenton County, known for its large angel. EPrata photo

The photo of a monument I saw online the other day was SO unusual, I looked at this photo for a long time. It brought tears to my eyes, for a variety of reasons. Matthew Stanford Robison was born with issues and a lack of oxygen rendered him blind and paralyzed. Doctors did not expect Matthew to live. But he did, for 10 and a half years.

He passed away in his sleep in 1999. His father, Ernest, designed and built a memorial he’d wanted to bring joy and comfort to others. Here it is-

I looked at that picture for a long time, thinking of all the disabled people, the people in chronic pain. Someone I know named Alex who is wheelchair bound, another named DebieLynne, my own elder, rendered paralyzed due to a football neck injury in high school. Children battling cancer and losing. Stillborn babies. So much pain for so many people, but the folks I mentioned are Christian and emit much joy of Christ through their struggles and obstacles. But it is a fact that the curse of sin in the world brings with it much sorrow, including illnesses and broken bodies. I rejoiced that the little tyke depicted in the picture monument actually and truly did reach for Christ upon passing from this life to the next. Jesus loves children.

And they were bringing children to Him so that He would touch them; but the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them, “Allow the children to come to Me; do not forbid them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” (Mark 10:13–1416).

All the person had posted was the photo with a short caption that said nothing about who he was or where he’d lived, or when. So I got curious and googled it. I found that it was Ernest Robinson and his son Matthew. He lived in Salt Lake City. Uh-oh. Chances are, if they lived in Salt Lake City they were likely Mormon, which is not of the true faith.

I googled some more and found the obituary for Matthew. It contained a quote that looked spiritual, biblical almost, but not quite. I couldn’t place it. I googled the sentences and uh-oh again. It’s from the Book of Alma, from the Book of Mormon. So the dad is Mormon…if he is still alive there is still time for him to repent and believe and he would see his son full formed and glorified. If not, then…more tears. (Luke 13:28).

I was sad all over again. This time for sin’s ability to believe anything but the true Gospel. The fact that so many cults and false beliefs are out there deceiving people into a wrathful eternity is heart-rending. I truly hate false doctrine with a white hot heat.

I was moved thinking about the day I either pass away or am called up to Jesus alive and I see Him! What a wonderful moment. Sin will pass away. I will sin no more. No one who was found to be in Christ will be tainted by it or harmed by it or endure any pain because of it.

What a day that will be. And no more cemeteries, for death was not found. (Revelation 20:14). We will spend our days gazing upon the Author of Life.

Further Reading

Mormon Beliefs: Are They Christian?

How Should a Christian Present the Gospel to a Mormon?

What does Revelation 21:4 mean? (There shall be no more death)

When does God heal our diseases?

Author:

Christian writer and Georgia teacher's aide who loves Jesus, a quiet life, art, beauty, and children.

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