John Doe

John Doe

I was overcome with a feeling of sadness. I was standing in the section of the city-owned cemetery, Potter’s Field. It was a rugged, uphill rocky area that was not desirable to families purchasing a burial plot so the city gave it to be used for people who could not afford a place to bury their loved one. The area was dotted with plastic markers signifying the location of graves. I was one of only three people at this graveside service, the other two being the funeral home staff. The homeless man, whose body showed years of drug abuse evidence, had died with no identification on him. The city had shipped the body to the state’s medical examiner for identification. Failing to identify the man, the state had shipped the body back and the city had asked one of the funeral homes to dispose of the body. 

The funeral home had contacted me with a request to say a few words at the graveside service since they knew I never charged for funerals. The body was in a heavy cardboard shipping box with a single label on the outside marked ‘John Doe’. I spoke for a few minutes in general details, closed with a passage or two and then worded a prayer. As I grabbed a shovel to help the two funeral home employees cover the cardboard casket, I thought, “It’s sad to think that no one will remember this man.” 

How different it is for the Christian who dies in the Lord. We have a Father who will remember us and reward us. We have an older brother who will always be there for us. We have a spiritual family who will cherish the memories. We have a future …a home in heaven, praise be to God! Revelation 14:13 says: And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!” 

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