Earlier this year I attended three memorials in eight days. Death has been on my mind – but in a good way. I’ve seen faith passed down from father to son to grandkids, and heard some amazing testimonies of lives well lived. It helped me remember an old truth.
God determines the dates on your tombstone, but your family writes your epitaph.
Here are five of my favorites, some good, some just fun:
1. From Nova Scotia: Here lies Ezekiel Aikle. Age 102. The good die young. So much for kind Canadians.
2. From England: The children of Israel wanted bread, and the Lord sent them manna. Old clerk Wallace wanted a wife, and the Devil sent him Anna. Ouch.
3. Another from England, probably the saddest: Tom Smith is dead, and here he lies; nobody laughs and nobody cries; where his soul’s gone, or how it fares; nobody knows, and nobody cares.
4. Can you guess who this one was written for? Free at last. Free at last. Thank God Almighty I’m free at last. Beautiful.
Martin Luther King Jr.
5. Can you guess who this one was written for? Jesus Mercy.
I’ve been reading Ecclesiastes lately, for a future sermon series. It’s not a bizarre bible story, but it is a bizarre truth that we avoid talk of death, even though we are racing towards it. One take-away from the book for me is, it’s time to start living with our epitaph in mind.
At my age, better sooner than later!