Cecil Tombs

At St Martin’s Church, Stamford, sit the grand family tombs and memorials of the Cecil family. The most famous of this clan was William Cecil, Elizabath I’s Lord High Treasurer. The office of Prime Minister did not exist then, but if it had, he would have owned it. He fathered a dynasty which was still powerful centuries later. Many of their corpses were brought to this ancient chapel, where, in the spirit of the ancient Judean kings, they rested with their forefathers.

Powerful, wealthy folk seem to enjoy the prospect of being encased in grandiose, lavish tombs, as though they wished to remind future generations that they were people to be reckoned with. Yet the splendour of these tombs could not be enjoyed by those that lay in them; even if they gave careful instruction to the builders, the finished product was never theirs to enjoy. Those foolish Pharaohs of the Old Kingdom are even better examples. Their tomb-building bankrupted their nation, but they could hardly sit back and admire the finished job.

Sometimes people share with me the facets of their carefully planned funerals, down to the most minute detail. This pop song here, that poem there, these flowers on the coffin, that photo on the service booklet. Yet they plan an event to which they are simply not invited. Would that people planned for their meeting with God- a summons which cannot be refused- as carefully and adroitly as the rich their tombs and the ignorant their funerals. You want a good send off? Bully for you. What about a warm reception by the Lord Jesus, rather than a hotter one without Him?

Then he said, “I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.” Abraham said to him, “They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.” Luke 16:27-29, NKJV