It was about 10 years ago, shortly after Kai and I had visited Sunset Villa mindepark in Ontario that I stood in Kai’s office and looked out the window suggesting to Kai that we could build a memorial wall here as well. After many meetings with the Province and the city of Burnaby, and a lot of drawings, a lot of talk, special meetings with the congregation we have today a Memorial walk. It has taken a tremendous amount of volunteer hours of work to build this walk and I extend my sincerer thank you to all the people who worked so hard on this project. It has turned out to be every thing I dreamed it would be. Therefore it gives me great pleasure today to officially open the Memorial walk by unveiling the first 3 plaques.
Our beautiful Danish church looks like a typical Danish village church.
When you are entering a Danish village church you will walk through the cemetery to reach the door. On your way to the door you would pass the tombstone with your great-grandparents and other family members names.
According to our history and tradition it has always been important that the graveyard was right beside the church. It was important in two ways.
Firstly because you bring your loved ones to the church after they have passed on for the funeral service and you want them to be as close as possible to the house of God.
Secondly because we need to have a place to go to, when we think of our loved one. A place to stop and read the names and the dates, a place to remember, a place to think and reflect, a place to put a bouquet of flowers, on certain dates that were important to you.
Our church is located in a big bustling city and this is not going to be a cemetery, it is a memorial walk where we can put plaques with the names of loved ones, who may be buried somewhere else, and it is a place where we may spread the ashes under the dolmen if we so wish.
It is a place for remembrance when we pass by the plaques with the names of the people we loved or whom we knew. This memorial walk will make the past to be a part of our daily life.
In the cemetery in Lemvig we had many war time graves for Allied soldiers killed in action. On most of the crosses there was a name and some dates. But on a few you would see the inscription An unknown soldier. He is known to God.
That is the most important thing to realise whether there is a plaque or only the ashes are spread under the dolmen, whether anyone will remember you after many years or not, you are still known to God.
I will read an English translation of the Danish ritual for the dedication of a cemetery.
From Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians chapter 15:
If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died. For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead has also come through a human being; for as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ. (Verses 19–22)
So it is with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a physical body, it is raised a spiritual body. (Verses 42–44a)
For this perishable body must put on imperishability, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When this perishable body puts on imperishability, and this mortal body puts on immortality, then the saying that is written will be fulfilled:
Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your sting? The sting of death is sin,
and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
I hereby dedicate this spot as a Christian Memory Walk in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Peace be with those who will be remembered here. Amen.