Have you ever been involved in tracing a family tree? If not, beware, it is most addictive. It will take you to church burial registers, church and chapel graveyards all over the country and to the County Records Office. I must confess that the whole exercise is most fascinating.
One of the teletext pages once shown on TV was an eye-opener as to how many people are interested in bygone relatives, who they were, what they did and when they died.
In recent years my wife and I have searched a number of graveyards to trace our family history, and as we have done this we have we have been forcibly reminded that death is no respecter of persons, both young and old being called to meet their maker.
One of the most impressive graveyards we visited was Longford in the south of Derbyshire. The first inscription we read was “Time is short”. This terse statement reminds me of what the Bible states about the span of life. It describes life as “a vapour”, “a shadow”, “a handsbreath”, “a tale that is told”, and “being swifter than a weaver’s shuttle”. How true the Bible is!
Another gravestone read “Prepare to meet thy God”.
As we made our way through the grounds of the blessed dead we read the challenging words of Jesus, “No man knoweth the day nor the hour when the Son of Man cometh”.
A few yards further on we read “All who are in the graves will hear His voice”.
We stood in the solitude of the churchyard and tried to visualise the Lord’s coming and the Day of Resurrection.
I thought to myself that these stones are preachers of the gospel and speak of a godliness of former days.
Even though they may be weathered with age, such epitaphs as we read still speak today!
Our experience was more than a fascinating day out, it became a great blessing.
Peter Hulland – Former Pastor at Stanton Lees Chapel – Promoted to Glory in 2015