Sunday, September 5, 2010

Dead or Alive?

Still waiting for the return of my camera...

I love old downtown areas, with their old buildings and architecture.  Small-town downtown areas are the best.  Just a block or two, but people gather there on a Friday night, and everyone knows everyone.  Carthage, New York, is just such a town, about 4-5,000 residents, and a small downtown which, over its 210-year existence, has experienced a number of major fires.  But the old downtown lives on, with its beautiful buildings and open park areas.

downtown Carthage, New York

On the 30-minute drive to the farmer's market in Carthage, my mom and I passed a new sign, "Black Creek Cemetery."  We commented on it each time we drove past.  One day, after eating at Stefano's Pizzeria (under the green awnings in the above photo), the six of us, plus Dad and Mom, decided to turn in and see what was hiding behind the trees along Route 3.  Two ruts were all that marked the way, but a turnoff appeared not even 50 feet beyond the road.

Someone had dedicated this quiet place to the American military of long ago.  A number of headstones were still lying where they had fallen, but the little cemetery in the clearing was freshly mowed and well tended to.

We meandered through, reading--or trying to read--inscriptions dating back to the early 1800s.  Inscriptions on two headstones struck me--those of a 19-year-old daughter, and her sister of five.  To endure the loss of not one, but two children, in two different stages of life...

We didn't read any flowery words of praise; most stones contained simply dates and names, and wife of ___.  There is something sobering about an old cemetery, knowing I am walking among those who have died.  But some of these who have died have gone on to glory--those whose lives were His, whose names were written in the Lamb's Book of Life.

I'm so very thankful that death isn't something to fear.  My name is written in the Lamb's Book of Life.  I am His.  I am sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise.

But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable,
and this mortal will have put on immortality,
then will come about the saying that is written,
"Death is swallowed up in victory."
1 Corinthians 15:54 NASB

And so I trod carefully through the graveyard, with the humble knowledge that in the end, death will not have victory over me.

"O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?"
1 Corinthians 15:55 NASB

Living life.
Capturing life.


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