Words to Grow On
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. HEBREWS 12:1
On George Washington Carver’s tombstone are carved the following words: “He could have added fortune to fame, but caring for neither, he found happiness and honor in being helpful to the world.” People of all races still honor George Washington Carver. Why? Because he lived a self-sacrificing life for the benefit of others. True honor is always earned. GARY CHAPMAN
Set the Scene
At first glance, this may seem like a morbid, even unsettling, idea for a date. That’s why it’s important to set the right tone. Reading Hebrews 12:1 together to start your date would be an ideal tone-setter.
Visiting burial sites together can serve as a reminder of those who have run God’s course and lived victorious Christian lives before us. Your purpose is to honor them and to remind each other that other people-the living and the dead-can positively influence us in our spiritual success.
Make It Happen
Here are some tips for planning a memorable and meaningful cemetery date.
1 Choose a place that has a personal connection to you. If you have family members buried in a local cemetery, start there. Visit their graves. (If you’re so inclined, bring flowers.) Share a few memories. After you’ve paid your respects, you can widen your circle of exploration.
2 Look for eye-catching grave markers. Which ones really stand out from the rest? What can you conclude about those people based on the way they’re memorialized? Do you think they had any input in choosing their gravestones, or do you think their gravestones were chosen by relatives after their deaths? Talk about the kind of grave marker you would prefer. What would the design be? What would you want it to say? Why?
3 Let the dates on the gravestones tell you stories. If you can do the math to figure out how old people were when they died, you can make educated guesses as to what their lives may have been like. Think about the person who outlived a spouse by thirty years. Think about the mother who lost a child in infancy. Think about the person who’s buried alone.
4 Talk about your personal crowd of witnesses. Think about the Christians in your life who have died. How did their faithfulness to God influence you in your Christian walk? Are you encouraged in your faith by the testimony they left behind? Or does remembering them make you feel guilty when you make a mess of things?
Finish StrongBefore you end your Cemetery Date, spend a few minutes talking together about the experience and what you’ll take away from it. Use the following questions as needed to guide your discussion: Was the date eerie or comforting? Did seeing the gravestones make you want to prioritize anything differently in life? Explain. What gravestone affected you the most, and why?
Mind Your LanguageIf your date’s primary love language is Words of Affirmation, share a list of epitaphs that could be used on their gravestone. (Again, do your best to skirt the morbid aspects of the exercise and focus on making your date feel loved, appreciated, and affirmed.) Here are a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing: She made her husband the luckiest man in the world. He brought color to the world. She changed lives. Everyone who knew him was better for it.
Take It to GodBefore your date, spend some time in prayer together. Thank God for the life He gives-in this world and throughout eternity. Thank Him for the people who made a difference in your life before they died. Ask God to: help you maintain a proper perspective during your date; remind you when you’re feeling discouraged that a crowd of witnesses have run the course before you; give you the endurance and strength to finish the race set before you.
Dig DeepLooking for more passages that talk about staying strong in the Christian faith and completing the course that is laid out before you? Try these:
Joshua 1:9 1
1 Corinthians 10:13