The Good News

Welcome to The Good News Blogspot! The Good News is real and alive in my own life. Jesus has fulfilled in my life His promise of fuller and more abundant life (John 15), a quality of life I could not have created for myself. I invite you to share experiences with me so we can all grow into the life He offers us all.

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Catholic by call, Jesuit by nature, a preacher/spiritual conversation partner by choice. Learning about getting older, learning to live in the present moment, one day at a time. Learning to let go and laugh.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

And God Shall Wipe Away All Tears

Remember me as you pass by.

As you are now, so once was I.

I am now, so you must be.

Prepare for death and follow me.

From an ancient tombstone in a north Jersey cemetery, I no longer remember where.

The ghostly lines speak without reproach or dire warning, but with a voice of welcome and the matter of fact reality of death. The lines speak of our need to prepare, not in fear but in joyful expectation of a new world of relief, healing, rest and renewal, unknown in this life.

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away…And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “See, the home of God is among mortals…He will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more. Mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:1, 3, 4, the latter two verses quoting Ezekiel 37:27)

My parents are buried in the Bay Street Cemetery in Glens Falls, New York, companions of Hawleys back to Amos and Achsah, who died in 1825 and 1832 respectively. My mother’s parents are buried in Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts as are my father’s uncle and aunt.

I visit both sites whenever I can. I go as if drawn in a welcoming way and afterwards am always glad to have made the visit. The visits tell me that the dead are now at rest. Having known their struggles, I sense their relief. I know that their “mourning and crying and pain” have passed away.

Consecrated in 1831, the 175-acre Mount Auburn Cemetery was the first in America to be landscaped to make it a place of natural beauty: hills, glens, ponds, trees of many varieties (each tagged with date of planting, some 150 years ago) give the cemetery the feel of a park, an arboretum, a bird sanctuary, a place to which the living can retreat from their busy lives and be refreshed. Intended for the living as well as the dead, Mount Auburn early on became a popular site for outings, its focal point being the granite Washington Tower, built in 1852 on the highest spot in the cemetery, offering a panoramic view of Boston. Today one commonly encounters people in Mount Auburn walking alone or with friends, taking photos, watching birds, and – best of all – being renewed in the midst of the living and the dead.

This seems so right to me, that we the living should find peace and recreation – re-creation – among the dead. We might miss them, but how greatly they merit the relief and peace they now enjoy. And, I expect, how greatly they hope that we can experience some of their peace in our own lives. God shall wipe away all tears, and the process begins in this life as soon as we make the choice to invite God into our lives. As we seek God’s active participation in our lives, we grow into the “fuller and more abundant life” that only God can give, in this life and in the next.

(Monuments, Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, Massachusetts)


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