A Great Cloud of Witnesses, The Epworth Memorial Garden
May 31, 2016
Every Sunday we are made aware of the Great Cloud of Witnesses around us as earth and heaven, saints, angels and all who have gone before us gather with the Church on earth in Holy Communion— a foretaste of the coming worship around the Great White Throne in the life to come.
At Epworth we also have the special privilege of having some of our dear departed buried beside the church in our Memorial Garden. Reminiscent of an English churchyard, we are surrounded in a concrete way with some of our saints. These memorials stand witness to lives well lived, help us recall our memories of their service to the Kingdom and provide a sense of comfort and continuity.
The ancient Book of Wisdom offers these reassuring words:
1 But the souls of the righteous are in the hand of God, and no torment will ever touch them.
2 In the eyes of the foolish they seemed to have died, and their departure was thought to be an affliction,
3 and their going from us to be their destruction; but they are at peace.
4 For though in the sight of men they were punished, their hope is full of immortality.
5 Having been disciplined a little, they will receive great good, because God tested them and found them worthy of himself;
6 like gold in the furnace he tried them, and like a sacrificial burnt offering he accepted them.
7 In the time of their visitation they will shine forth, and will run like sparks through the stubble.
8 They will govern nations and rule over peoples, and the Lord will reign over them for ever.
9 Those who trust in him will understand truth, and the faithful will abide with him in love, because grace and mercy are upon his elect, and he watches over his holy ones.