In a recent wander through a cemetery in Pembrokeshire (SW Wales) one memorial is designed to attract attention more than any other. And it does. High above all else. The erect, stone figure can be seen from some distance. A military man of some kind, I suspect. Maybe a general? In life he commanded armies and now in death he is commanding graves.
But I am not wandering for his sake.
I am on a little pilgrimage. My eyes look here and there for the headstone I have come to see. Ahh, there it is. Down at the lowest point in the cemetery, close to the boundary, in a nondescript little space. Having been added far more recently than its neighbours, the colouring (and the material being used) is a little different, making it easier to locate.
I draw nearer ...
It is my first time back to The Hookses in Dale since John Stott died, four years ago (later this month). This is the place where John Stott came to write his books and to retreat from the busyness of a global ministry. It was his wish to be buried here.
I had heard about the content of what he wanted written as a memorial (echoing the words chosen by Charles Simeon, a 19th century inspiration with a remarkably similar ministry) but I was not prepared for this context. I mean we are talking about arguably the most influential person in the global evangelical church in the last five decades, maybe more. This is not exactly St Paul's, or Westminster Abbey, is it?!
But why should I have been surprised? A life characterized by simplicity and humility was followed by a death characterized by the same. In the lowest corner of a rural field.
|The cemetery begins as the row of houses concludes - with our 'general' elevating upwards|
in the middle and Stott's grave in the lower right corner (maybe expand this one a bit!).