Flowers for the Living by Catherine Hershberger

“For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God .And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.” 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 (ESV)

Picture courtesy of Pixabay

When my mother was alive we always went down to Kentucky on Memorial Day, May 31st, and visited the family graveyard where we put flowers on the graves of her brothers, parents, cousins, and any other graves that had been forgotten by their family members. Every year she’d walk around and point out the gravestones and tell us stories about the people who’d passed beyond the pale existence of this earth. Every year she’d admonish our young daughter not to step on the graves, like she’d warned me when I was a child. Every year she’d weep for those who had left this world before her.

Mom was raised in the church, and knew she’d see those faithful souls in her family when Christ came again as promised, but she never failed to weep at the graves of her family. It pained me to see her cry and it confused me, especially as an adult who’d made a conscious decision to celebrate the lives of my Christian family and friends when they left this world. After all, I knew without a doubt that I’d see them again when God calls us all home. The Bible tells me so.

Remembering our loved ones who have died has a place in our lives, but remembering them while they are here is even more important. Years ago I wrote a poem called Flowers for the Living. I’d like to share the poem with you today.

Flowers For the Living

They asked for flowers in their lives,

and so I gave them all the ruby roses

they could hold, surrounding

them with lives of lasting love.

They asked for flowers in their lives,

and so I gave them daffodils

and golden tulips, harbingers

of hope and new beginnings.

They asked for flowers in their lives,

and so I gave them sunny fields

of daisies, faces turned toward

the sun reflecting back life’s glow.

They asked for flowers in their lives,

and so I gave them baby’s breath

bound in pastel ribbons, tiny

bouquets of joy from Heaven’s womb.

picture courtesy of Pixabay

They asked for flowers in their lives,

and so I gave them all I had

of happiness and love—then laid a

single tear-stained rose on granite.

(© Catherine Hershberger 10/16/93)

I’m not in any way suggesting we forget those who’ve gone before us. The concept of Memorial Day, or Decoration Day as my mother called it, is specifically meant to remember the dead—especially the soldiers who have died in wars helping to keep America a free nation. However, I do feel when we give everything to those we love while they are here on earth we have more peace in our hearts when they’re gone.

I also understand the need to mourn. I mourned those loved ones in my life who die. I mourned because they were physically gone from my presence. I mourned because I was sad for my loss. Do I miss them? Not as much as I used to, but I have fond memories of them that keep them alive in my heart. Am I assured that I’ll see them all again? Absolutely!

Revelation 14:15 says “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord…” This assurance is one of the great blessings my faith offers me.  Knowing, that as Christians, I and my loved ones will be caught up into Heaven on judgment day and reunited gives me peace.

This year, on Memorial Day, I hope this understanding gives you comfort as you remember your loved ones who’ve gone before you. And if you don’t have this peace, I’d encourage you to seek out Christ. He’s the one who will give you blessings beyond this world and this life.

Flowers for the Living (© Catherine Hershberger 5/19/21)

About the Author:

Catherine is a member of Greendale First Church of Christ. She is also an award-winning author of sweet and inspirational romance under the pen name of Catherine Castle. Many of her devotions have appeared on various places on the internet. You can find her books on her Amazon Author page or at Barnes and Noble.

Women’s Devotions, Memorial Day, 2nd Coming of Christ, Death, Judgement day, Everlasting life, Blessings, Poetry, Faith,