Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Man UP dies...well

When I first envisioned Man UP, the dead surrounded me. Claire and I were enjoying one of our weekend scooter rides through Oakwood Cemetery. We scanned tombstones for the name David Plaster, my college mentor. I whispered stories about the deceased in my daughter's ear.
Every tombstone tells a story. Oakwood Cemetery

I wanted the men of our church to hear these stories, too. Pastors and conference speakers have overplayed the metaphor of the dash--the small grammatical stroke between birth and death that constitutes life. The dash tells only part of the story. Other telling signs adorn the burial plot: flowers and flags; Bible verses and Mason marks; toy tractors and family names.

Oakwood Cemetery is an expanding library. Five new titles arrived this week.
The exapanding library at Oakwood Cemetery

I sent our men off with a blank peice of paper (naked we come from the womb) and crayon. They sought out their first name or year of birth on tombstones. Williams and Fredericks outscored Timothys and Micahs forty to nothing. Fortunately, my birth coincided with Mr. Dillinger's death in 1979.
Brian Beery forges his last name.
After rubbing names and dates on the page, each man wrote his obituary. We returned to the chapel to share notes, sing Victory in Jesus, and pray for one another. Only Art volunteered to read his obituary. "Art Bushen was a servant who embraced joy, followed Jesus, and longed to hear God say, 'Well done.'"

I almost heard it spoken from the heavens this morning. Perhaps Art did, too. The old man teared up. This was a fitting and good death to Man UP. The end is not so bad when resurrection looms.

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