Willow Creek Mennonite Cemetery
Sunday, September 18, 2022
This place is special and sacred to us all. Yet, for many of you and your past relatives, this place is sacred for many more reasons. As most of you know, there was a church building here that burned down in the winter of 1967. Here, the saints of then raised their voices in praise and worship. Here, the ancestors of some of you were married and many of them were given their final resting place here.
As in the case of Moses who was met by God in the desert of Horeb, some saints from the San Marcos Mennonite Church moved to this area seeking to make a life and to provide for their families. Much of what today are vineyards, were in those days grain fields.
In the spring of 1911, the church building in San Marcos was taken apart and rebuild here. The land was donated by Abraham Claassen. These saints felt this was the place they could meet with God. They felt this place was sacred. And so, they worshipped here until the winter of 1967 when the building was destroyed by fire.
Today, as we continue to celebrate our church history, we have come out here with joy, with thanksgivings, and with reverence, knowing that the God who appeared to our fellow brothers and sisters of the past is the same one we are honoring and giving praises today.
God said to Moses, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” God did not say to Moses, I am the God of the late Abraham, the late Isaac and of the late Jacob, as if for God also, these were dead men. No. God referred to them as if alive and living because he is the God of the living.
Rev. Wiebe who was serving in the church in San Marcos, continued to serve here after they moved and served until his death in 1922. Rev. Wiebe was their leader who guided the saints of those days. He leaned on the God who had brought them to this part of the world. He knew that the Lord was and continued to be faithful.
Song: Great Is Thy Faithfulness #54 Blue Hymnal
In Psalm 95, verse one, reads: Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
The idea of God being the Rock of our salvation communicates God’s strength, solidness, and greatness. In other Psalms God is described as the Rock of refuge. Now, when it comes to “stones” these are smaller pieces of rocks. Stones can simply be smaller pieces of rock, but they can also be pieces that have already been polished, worked out for particular purposes. Please take notice of how Peter describes Jesus. Jesus is the Living Stone, chosen by God and precious to him. Jesus as the Living Stone became the conerstone in God’s temple. The cconerstone, according to biblical times architecture, was the first stone laid in a construction project. It became the reference point for every other element of the construction. The cornerstone defined the orientation and alignment of the building.
Peter also calls every believer a living stone. Therefore, we are pieces God is shaping and working out to fit specific aspect within his house. That is why, our passage in 1Peter begins with an urgent call: Rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. 2 Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, 3 now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. By getting rid of ill intentions that may rise in our heart, we are being shaped into living stones. By speaking truth and practicing honesty, we are being chiseled and molded as living stones. By desiring spiritual sustenance—through personal devotional time, or seeking to be in fellowship with the community of believers we are polished for the purposes God wants to use us.
In cemeteries you find stones of various kinds and shapes. There is gravel, there are rocks, there are headstones. But here, those who are buried here were the living stones, built on the Living Precious Stone, Jesus Christ. The saints buried here and we who are gathered here today have one fundamental thing in common, the glorious hope of the resurrection day. They are awaiting to hear their names being called.
So, let us seek to be molded and polished to fit in God’s house. Let us remain strongly built on the Living Stone. Let us sing:
“On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand” #340 Blue Hymnal
“In My Heart There Ring a Melody” #552 Blue Hymnal