So, what could be the story of the unnamed occupant of the grave and who marked the grave with a cross? These are two related, but different issues that are worthy of consideration. They both say a lot about what is important about any individual life and how it is treated after death gives that gives some clues about the story. The picture also says something about whoever came and put that cross on the grave. In the case of the unidentified body in the grave, it might be a drifter who moved from town to town, sometimes a lawbreaker, sometimes someone just looking for work or trying to start over. It wasn't all that many years ago that birth certificates weren't even required and registered for my own mother, born in Dare County, North Carolina in early 1913 who had no birth certificate. For her to get a passport required three witnesses who could swear she was who she was and would attest under oath to that fact. Couple with that the limitations of communications in those days as well as transportation issues and it is really no wonder that someone could come to town with no one knowing from whence they came. Also, in the case of a criminal or an indigent person, most people didn't even take the time to care, figuring that if they at least put them in the ground it was sufficient. Prior to World War II America had a much different mindset since survival for most Americans came with hard and long hours of work. With the exception of Sunday off from work but wanting to honor their spiritual commitments, there just wasn't very much time to think about such things. And if no one knew the person and he or she had no positive impact on the community, most just forgot about it. That's not meant as a criticism, just a fact of life in the times and it explains many of the unidentified in a Potter's Field. That leaves us with the who and why behind the marker. Well, I think it's reasonable to say that whoever put up that rugged old cross thought it important to put up the symbol of eternal life that is found in the Christian faith. They probably were of limited means and perhaps older and not able to dig a deep hole, so the cross was put in the ground at a shallow depth with the old cinder block used to help keep it standing. Whoever they were, they obviously had a kind heart and a belief in the value of life and they likely just felt that no one should be left without remembrance, even if they were unknown.
Then there's one last point and it involves that simple, rustic cross and what it represents. It represents love, grace, hope, forgiveness and redemption and it is something that is available to all of us who accept the offer Jesus gave to all of us at the moment he died on the cross: Believe in me through Faith and you will gain Eternal Life. And that message is made so clear by the beautiful picture because with death, the individual in that grave became forgotten. The only thing we leave behind when we die is the memory of who we are and how we lived to those who care. Other than that, we are forgotten and all of our treasures are divided up and later many won't even remember who they got them from. In the case of the poor soul with no identification in Potter's Field, he or she obviously left nothing for anyone to remember. But, and this is a big but, since only that person knows what was in their heart at the time of their demise, only that person realized what the future held. He or she could very well be in heaven while those who didn't give a whit about them could be on the other end of the escalator. And that, my friends should bring hope to all of us for Eternity is achievable by each of us, no matter how powerful or weak we might be. It all is up to our choices and what they do to our heart. On which end of the escalator do you hope to find yourself?