God’s Wonderful Flower of Remembrance

God’s Wonderful Flower of Remembrance

Most people associate Memorial Day with firing up the barbecue, opening the beach house and other rituals of the summer season.  Years ago, Memorial Day was a more somber observance of the departed, especially those of service men and women lost in war. For those who have lost a father, mother, son, daughter or a dear friend during a conflict of war, the term Decoration Day touches their hearts in a different way in comparison to the common modern observation of Memorial Day by most in this country. The whole of Scripture teaches us there is a conflict of war that takes the lives of all of us in its proper season, physical death. (Genesis 3:3; Romans 6:23; 1 Corinthians 15:21-22; James 4:14) The lost of these loved ones has left a scar needing to be healed just as well.   It seems like in this day of self-indulgence and pleasure mentality, little is said or done to remember those who have fallen in the conflict of worldly and spiritual war. Thankfully, there are loved ones who see the need to commemorate the lost of someone who was dear to them.

We serve a God who is Sovereign and has in these modern times gave us flowers to commemorate the death of loved ones who have passed away. One of those flowers are Peonies. Peonies are the traditional flower for Memorial Day decoration of soldiers’ and loved one’s graves. Pretty much everywhere, Peonies is the flower of choice for those who want a memorial remembrance that survives the winter of death – it is a flower which comes back year after year, often becoming lusher as the seasons go on and on. Peonies have been grown since the Middle-Ages in Europe. It came to American colonies and was carried out west by settlers in their wagon trains.  It is hardy as an oak tree along with (most Peonies), exceptionally long-lived. On many farmsteads long neglected for centuries past, Peonies are the most persistent survivors while all other flowers have faded away. Deer and other pests do not bother them. (Home and Garden)  According to Grade Side Flowers Inc. Peonies are a symbol of healing.

Before you can fully enjoy what, the Lord has for us in His enabling mankind to produce Peonies, you must grasp the Sovereignty of God on all things. (Job 36: 23-24; 36:27-33; Job 37:1-13; The whole book of Ruth; Ester 5:1-8; Amos 1:3-2:3; Psalm 115:3-8; Acts 4:24; Acts 14:17; 1 Corinthians 15:28) The Bible says, “Oh, the depths of riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!” (Romans 11:33) “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things…” (Romans 11:36)   “Through Him” (Greek: ἐξ—διά—εἰς) means God and Christ are the maintainers, preservers, rulers over all things that happen upon this earth. (Word Studies in the New Testaments; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Colossians 1:16-17) C.H. Spurgeon wrote about God’s Sovereignty, “There is no attribute more comforting to His children than that of God’s sovereignty. Under the most adverse circumstances, in the most severe trials, they believe that His Sovereignty has ordained their afflictions, His Sovereignty overrules them, and His Sovereignty will sanctify them all. There is nothing for which the children ought to more earnestly contend to than the doctrine of their Master over all creation—the Kingship of God over all the works of His own hands—the Throne of God and His right to sit upon that throne…for it is God upon the Throne of Whom we trust.” – (Galaxies Software. (2002). 10,000 Sermon Illustrations. Biblical Studies Press)

Christians know that it is God’s Sovereignty in creating Peonies, they understand it is His hand in preserving and blooming them in just the right time for us to enjoy around Memorial Day. Peonies can be a wonderful choice to plant at grave sides. They will still be there when those who planted them have passed on. In most parts of the world, Peonies can be a yearly reminder, after winters death has done its worse, spring conquers, just as Christ conquered death and the grave by rising again on Easter Sunday. (1 Corinthians 15:3-4) Those who have died in Christ, did not feel winter’s death, they went on to be with the Lord. (1 Corinthians 15:50-58) Peonies are a symbol and reminder that Christian loved ones are not in the grave, but alive in Christ in heaven. Just as the root of Peonies are under ground during winter’s death, then comes spring, producing new life, there will be a day of resurrection. Christian bodies will come out of the grave to meet the Lord in the air. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18) Christians will receive a glorified body that will last forever. (1 Corinthians 15:35-37, 42-44; Philippians 3:20-12)  The consequences of sin and death will no longer bother them or have any kind of victory over them.

This Memorial Day season, let the beauty of Peonies remind you of our Lords victory over winter’s death. Let Spring’s beauty remind you of the beauty of Christian loved ones being in heaven, no longer being affected by this sin-cursed world. Let God’s wonderful flower of remembrance raise up a joy of hope, there is going to be a resurrection of those who are in Christ, receiving an eternal body that will last forever. One that will be incorruptible, perfect and glorified just as Jesus’ Body is.


Stones of Remembrances

The Importance of Gravestones

Genesis 35:19 – 20 says,   “So Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem). Over her tomb Jacob set up a pillar, and to this day that pillar marks Rachel’s tomb.

Rachel, the daughter of Laban was the one for whom Jacob worked for a total of fourteen years. (Genesis 29:15-30).  The Bible says Jacob loved Rachel so much that his first seven years of labor to Laban (the first down payment for Rachel to her father) “seemed like only a few days… because of his love for her.”   Here in Genesis 35:19-20 we see Jacob being a true mourner.  He placed a pillar, a gravestone as marker over the burial place of the woman he loved.  Biblically, Jacob is known for setting up stones of remembrance for life changing events in his life. (Genesis 28:18; 31:45-47; 35:14)  Here in Genesis Jacob sets a stone of remembrance over the grave of Rachel so that she may be remembered long after her death. (Matthew Henry Commentary) According to Scripture, Rachel’s burial place is clearly remembered up to the time of Samuel. (1 Samuel 10:2; The Pulpit Commentary; The Expositors Bible Commentary)  A brief allusion to Rachel’s grave site is also found in Genesis 48:7 and the prophet Jeremiah alluded to Rachel’s burial site. (The Expositors Bible Commentary)

There are writings of antiquity which indicate that Rachel’s grave was well marked so her life and legacy might be remembered.  There are writings in the fourth century placing Rachel’s grave within the Turkish Chapel Kubbet Rachil (Robison, Vol. 1 page 322; Tristrain, “Land of Israel” page 404; Thomson “Land and Book” page 664; Stanley, “Sinai and Palestine” page 149)  This chapel was placed about a half hour’s journey from Bethlehem. (The Pulpit Commentary) There are websites that have information about Rachel’s Tomb that show pictures and have written history indicating that her stone of remembrance has impacted lives, even to this day.  (www.lifeintheholyland.com  www.scared-destinations.comPlease find the truth in this study.  We are in God’s will if we take time to set up a stone of remembrance for the deceased.  It is under His Sovereign control what becomes of it.

Matthew Henry writes, “It may be good for us to keep this in mind [the placing of Rachel’s Stone] so others may be encouraged to set up memorials.”  It is important to put in place markers, gravestones, headstones, tombstones or statues of remembrance so others may remember the life and work of those who paid the way before us.  Nacie Carson wrote, “A gravestone is a maker used to delineate the location of a burial site for an individual, family or group.”  Most people alive today can expect to be remembered through the ages by cemetery headstones personalized to include their names, dates of birth and death, special designs, and other relevant information. Even people whose bodies have been cremated (a tradition whose popularity is increasing dramatically) are often memorialized with cemetery headstones installed in their family cemetery plots. This is in keeping with the advice of many psychologists who say that, even if a person’s ashes are scattered at sea, having a specific, special place in which to memorialize a loved one is an important part of any family’s grieving.  Besides their obvious emotional value, cemetery headstones are also valuable to historians who often need to document people’s lives for decades, or even centuries, after death has occurred.

Headstones are typically used as the memorial of any person who has passed away to serve as “Stones of Remembrance” of their life.  Only the Lord knows how someone’s grave stone will affect a person’s life.  There is a truth in what Jacob did for his wife that is worth grasping.  We certainly must honor those who loved us by showing the act of sacrificial love by setting up a “Stone of Remembrance.”