This past Sunday afternoon I was relaxing on the couch when the phone rang. It was the neighbor girl and she wanted to know if we could come to the graveyard with her and her family. Strange request, but sure!
Time for some background…our neighbors, the Yondo’s, and especially the mom, Angela, have a unique relationship (if that’s the right word) with a local cemetery called St. Andrew’s. Due to many years of neglect, vandalism, poor record keeping, and a fire that destroyed many of the records, the cemetery had fallen into a state of disrepair. Many of the headstones are from late 1800’s and early 1900’s.
Angela, and consequently her family, have taken on the herculian task of restoring it. This requires not only the physical restoration of landscaping, tree-trimming and the like, it also requires finding and recording information on the headstones and then doing the research of who these people were. It is her labor of love.
On this particular warm and sunny afternoon the older two kids and I went out there and helped haul brush and set-up headstones that have either broken or been vandalized. We also spent some time looking for headstones that, after being broken and laying on the ground for many years, have become buried. She accomplishes this using a metal pole that she thrusts into the ground like a probe hoping to ‘hit’ one. She had recently discovered a set of four – all family members that we buried together.
After a few hours of helping and learning we were about ready to leave when Zachary grabbed the probe and unwittingly stuck it in the ground and ‘hit’ one. We began digging and wondering – “Who is it?”
It was a strange feeling to be looking for a someTHING and at the same time knowing it was the last remaining memory of a someONE. We finally got it out of the ground….
The son of
Aug. 11, 1906
Nov. 14, 1906
My exhilaration of the find was quickly replaced with wonder and sadness. Who was this? How did he die? Why so young? Would anyone alive today remember his family? Answering that question in the affirmative seemed unlikely. Angela had no record of any Johnsons being buried here. It seemed liked his memory was lost forever.
It got me thinking about the importance of remembering and the fact that we partake in Holy Communion, the Eucharist, as an act of remembering. We remember so that we don’t forget.
That may seem obvious, but imagine what it would be like if the church hadn’t been remembering these past 2,000 years. Think about that – what if the church neglected its responsibility to remember by not participating in the Lord’s Supper?
We partake to remember. We remember who he is, what he did and why he did it. And in so doing, we remember a tomb too. A tomb that is empty. A tomb that is not forgotten. A tomb that, for the sake of us all, cannot be forgotten. That’s the power, the importance, the rememberance of the Lord’s Supper.
By remembering Jesus in the Lord’s Supper, the Eucharist, we share in his death and resurrection. He is not the forgotten son of C.W. Johnson. He is the remembered Son of God, and the Savior of us all.
Take, Eat, Remember, and Believe….so that we do not forget.