Saturday, April 30, 2016


It used to be typical to bury the saints who died in the church graveyard. In Europe, people who died were often  even buried inside the building. The Dutch word for graveyard is "kerkhof" which literally translates to English as "church yard."

Although Jubilee Canadian Reformed Church, my congregation, hopes one day to have its own building, we have been joyfully using Merivale United Church since 1979 and I have been preaching in its pulpit for 13 years (1987-1992 and 2008 until the present). The Merivale church building, establish in 1876, is surrounded by graves. What a place to be on the day of the resurrection. Can't you just see it? Jesus descending, graves tearing open, and saints arising! What a sight that will be.

I've always wanted to live beside a cemetery in the hopes I'd be at home on that day. In Ancaster, for eleven years, I lived across the road from St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, which had a graveyard, and now I preach every Sunday within sight of many gravestones.

There is something good about having a cemetery surrounding your church building. Seeing the gravestones and markers before the service makes one long ever more for the words of life he is about to hear or preach. When you leave the service and see them again you know that death will not win out in the end. Jesus has won the victory! O death, where is thy victory! O death, where thy sting! Thanks be to God for the glorious triumph of Jesus Christ!