Many years ago when I was younger and a lot more fun, I worked with young people – teenagers and college students. A favorite activity was an evening cemetary scavenger hunt. It’s not as macabre as it sounds.
I scouted out a church-owned graveyard and made a list of interesting markers. You can find some very thought provoking things carved into marble and granite. There were even heart-tugging, home-made memorials scratched into concrete. Young lives taken too soon were evident, as were very old saints who lived long lives of service. The illustrations that were chosen to decorate the tombstones were sometimes telling also.
If you ever want to do this with a group, I’d suggest you get permission from the church trustees first. I was banned for life by churches in a couple of small towns. They had no idea who was prowling their cemetary with flashlights after dark.
But there was a point to this activity. Some kids had never been in a cemetary and had some weird ideas from horror movies. This was to normalize and humanize the place as well as to teach some respect about it as sacred space.
In our debriefing discussion, we made a point of saying there are people buried there who may have never really lived in the first place. And our Christian faith tells us there are people buried there who will never die. We have hope of eternal life because Yeshua/Jesus, who was resurrected first, promises that our bodies will also have a day of resurrection.
1John 5:12 says, “Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.”