DayBreaks for 3/26/18: The Proclamation
From the DayBreaks archive, March 2008:
SARPOURENX, France – A mayor in southwest France has threatened residents of his village of Sarpourenx with severe punishment if they die because there’s no room in the cemetery. Mayor Gerard Lalanne posted an ordinance in the council offices advising the village’s 260 residents that “all persons not having a plot in the cemetery and wishing to be buried in Sarpourenx are forbidden from dying in the parish.” It added, “Offenders will be severely punished,” Homes Worldwide said. The 70-year-old mayor, who is hoping to be re-elected in local elections, told journalists, “It may be a laughing matter for some, but not for me.”
Easter is coming but will soon be over and I shall miss it once it’s gone. Of course, there’s no reason we can’t revel in the joyful proclamation “He is not here, he is risen!” all year long – and indeed, we should. It is at the very heart of the Christian message, for if Christ is not risen from the dead, we’d have no greater hope or joy than any other religion whose founder lies moldering in the grave.
I would imagine that mayor Lalanne issued his proclamation rather tongue-in-cheek. I just don’t think that one can legislate the prevention of death. Try as one might, you will never be able to keep cemeteries from filling up. The human march toward death is certain and inexorable. The bell tolls for we.
Jesus would take a different approach than Mayor Lalanne. Jesus is a realist – we will all die, and after that face judgment. But rather than filling up cemeteries, Jesus is all about emptying them out through the resurrection. And we need never fear another thing: there is no message such as “There’s no room at the inn,” or “Heaven is full…no vacancy.” If Easter is about anything, it is about room – room at the foot of the cross, room in an empty tomb, room in cemeteries where the dead are raised and room in heaven for “whosoever will” that desires to come home to the Father.
PRAYER: Lord, we believe that the day will come when all who are in the grave will hear your voice and every grave will open and surrender to You. May we never lose hope, may we invite all we know to come home! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
COPYRIGHT 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.