Tuesday, November 3, 2015


At the end of his great book Fathers and Sons, Ivan Turgenev describes a village graveyard in one of the remote corners of Russia.

Among the many neglected graves was one untouched by man, untrampled by beast.  Only the birds rested upon it and sang at daybreak.  Often from the nearby village two feeble old people, husband and wife, moving with heavy steps and supporting one another, came to visit this grave.

Kneeling down at the railing and gazing intently at the stone under which their son was lying, they yearned and wept.  After a brief word they wiped the dust away from the stone, set straight a branch of a fir tree, and then began to pray.  In this spot they seemed to be nearer their son and their memories of him.  And then Turgenev asks, "Can it be that their prayers, their tears, are fruitless?  Can it be that love, sacred, devoted love, is not all powerful?  Oh no, however passionate, sinning and rebellious the heart hidden in the tomb, the flowers growing over it peep serenely at us with their innocent eyes.   They tell us not of eternal peace alone, of that great peace of indifferent nature; they tell us, too, of eternal reconciliation and of life without end."

-- Billy Graham in Unto the Hills


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