“We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. For in hope we were saved.” – Romans 8:22-24a
This summer, Lefse, the camp cat since the summer of 2000 died. She lived a long life of mousing and bearing many kittens. She was a beloved companion to several campers as well as PRBC staff.
She was discovered by summer staff while I was away from camp and on my way to a restful weekend. So when she was found, I instructed the staff via phone to find a nice place to bury her and to mark the grave so that those who loved her could make a visit.
I don’t know why, but Monday afternoon I was surprised to find that they marked her grave with a cross. Immediately, I began to wonder if that was theologically appropriate or not. Wonderful as she may have been Lefse was after all, just a cat.
But then the passage from Romans came to mind. Scripture reminds us that all of creation waits in eager anticipation for the final redemption of the world brought on by the death and resurrection of Christ.
It isn’t just humanity that is fallen; it is the entirety of creation that is utterly and completely fallen and in need of renewal and redemption. This is the purpose of the Christ Event (the Incarnation, Crucifixion, Resurrection, Ascension, and Return of Christ).
Now, I don’t know if your dog or cat will be present in heaven some day. That is perhaps another discussion. But what is known is that upon Christ’s return, those who believe in Christ will be made whole and this creation will be redeemed and re-created.
In light of all this, it seems very fitting that Lefse’s grave be marked with a cross.