We have a cemetery on the front lawn of our church. I love it. I use it. I especially like having a patriarch of our church come to share with our tweeners and youth the stories and the “why” it is there.
We schedule it for the 4th Sunday in October (no bugs and nice cool temps). After some “housekeeping” and “respect” discussion, we send the students in pairs on a scavenger hunt throughout the cemetery. These are the questions we had for them this year:
Find the name of someone that shares your first name, your middle name, or your last name
Find someone who died nearest your birth month and day
Find 3 people with the same last name
Find 2 people with the same first name
Find 3 people who served in the Armed Forces
Find someone who died the year you were born
Find someone who died most recently
Find someone who’s name has a color in it
Mr. Jimmy then arrives to share the story of why the cemetery is there, why two brothers have the same name yet spell it differently, that there are 4 civil war veterans buried there, and why some tombstones are larger than others.
Then….he asks if there are any questions. Their questions are honest, innocent, and so respectful of the burial process along with the whys of plants, markers, and rocks. He shares that most young people don’t think about graveyards very much, but the older one gets, it becomes important.
Before we leave we let them know that we have what we have and enjoy what we enjoy in our church because of the conversations, prayers, and gifts of many in this cemetery. They planned and prepared for our current children’s ministry and youth ministry.
A comment made by one of the tweeners, “I never even noticed the cemetery before, but now I like that it’s part of our campus. It’s filled with great people.” I couldn’t agree more.
“Remember the days of old; consider the generations long past. Ask your father and he will tell you, your elders, and they will explain to you.” Deuteronomy 32:7