DayBreaks for 9/24/18: The Mayor of Waterford
From the DayBreaks archive, September 2008:
In his book, Rumors of Another World, Philip Yancey tells of a visit he made in the town of Waterford, Ireland. He went there to see the famous tomb craving on the stone marking the final resting place of Mayor Rice. “Considered one of the finest monuments in Ireland, the stone carving portrays the devout Mayor Rice’s decomposing body being gnawed and devoured by toads, vermin, and insects. The mayor died at a time when the shadow of the Black Death shrouded all of Europe. ‘Whoever you are that pass by, stand, read, weep,’ says the mayor’s inscription. ‘I am what you will be and I was what you are.’
“The physical world, no matter how attractive, has its limits.”
It isn’t often that you visit a gravesite to see a picture of the person resting therein being consumed by vermin. We would rather not think of such things – we’d rather think of the deceased as they looked when they were happy and full of life. We would rather believe that all is well – even below the surface of the ground where our eyes cannot penetrate the murky darkness.
But, such is not reality. “From dust thou art, and to dust thou shalt return,” the Lord has decreed. But that’s not us – it’s just the shroud we wore in life. Still, the sentiments on the Mayor’s gravestone and the pictures carved there are a good reminder to us: we are mortal. We are finite. We are not destined to live in this world forever and ever, hallelujah and amen. It will, certainly, come to an end, and we shall be like Mayor Rice.
Let us remember that, and remember that the allure of this world is a deadly siren song to divert us from the pathway to eternal life.
PRAYER: Give us perspective, Lord, that we may live wisely, redeeming the time. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
COPYRIGHT 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.