1 Corinthians 15 (NRSV) ~ The Resurrection of Christ
"LISTEN, I will tell you a mystery! We will not all die, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 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 victory? Where, O death, is your sting?"
When my own father died from acute myeloid leukemia in the spring of 2013, we grieved as a family and community. And before then in the fall of 2012 when a premature newborn great nephew struggled for several weeks in his young life, finally being taken up by God in a life that was far too short. In the midst of death, in the fragile frailty of life, we come together as a people of God to celebrate life, a life well lived.
This is what families and communities do, they come together to comfort one another in such trying times. It happens time and again within any community, any family; we grieve for those whom we have lost. In our common humanity, across all families and all communities, all cultures, in the midst of death, we come together as a people to celebrate life.
This past Friday, the Greater Harris County–Houston community mourned the loss of Peace Officer and Harris County Sheriff’s Deputy Darren Goforth. Deputy Goforth’s death was a tragic senseless murder of someone who served the greater good, someone who helped to keep the peace. He was a Peacekeeper, a Conservator of the Peace, as are all Peace Officers.
There is an extraordinary honor to be found in serving your country and community and in being a Peace Officer, in keeping the peace. It is a sacrifice for the greater good and from what I have seen and know it is a sacred calling that is answered by many good men and women. People whom, at their very best; unselfishly protect the weak and the innocent, and the sacredness of life.
AS a Peacekeeper, as a son, as a husband and father, Deputy Darren Goforth was such a man; he answered the call. As are all the keepers of God’s peace, who like him, have likewise heard the call and chosen to serve in a spirit of humility. Overwhelmingly, they are people who deserve our respect and support. Because they care, because it requires of them tremendous sacrifice, courage and a compassionate vision to make such a commitment to hearth and home, to their own families, to the community in which they, and we live together.
I am thankful for such caring commitment and compassion. I am thankful for the care given by all those who answer this call, in serving God and country and community. I am thankful for all who serve; I am thankful for people like Deputy Darren Goforth. In this Spirit of Thanksgiving allow me please to offer this humble prayer and blessing from the Book of Common Prayer.
Prayer for Social Service (BCP)
O Lord our heavenly Father, whose blessed Son came not to
be ministered unto but to minister: Bless, we beseech thee, all
who, following in his steps, give themselves to the service of
others; that with wisdom, patience, and courage, they may
minister in his name to the suffering, the friendless, and the
needy; for the love of him who laid down his life for us, the
same thy Son our Savior Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth
with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Saint Julian Press, Inc.
Father: The Rev. Robert Paul Starbuck, M.Div., PhD, Methodist Clergy, Marriage and Family Counselor/Psychotherapist.
Ron Starbuck is an author, poet, the Publisher-CEO of Saint Julian Press, and an Episcopalian.