Monday, August 10, 2009

Two Reminders of Responsible Service

At 11:00 a.m. (Eastern Daylight Time) Saturday, August 8, 2009 Judge Sonya Sotomayor became the 111th justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. She pledged “to support and defend the Constitution of the United States… administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich….”

At 11: a.m. (Central Daylight Time) Saturday, August 8, 2009 the life of Rev. Dr. Raymond A. Martin was celebrated as Christians gathered at his funeral in Dubuque, Iowa. Ray had taught at Wartburg College, Waverly, Iowa, Gurukul Theological Seminary in Madras, India, and for many years at Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa. He was my colleague and friend. He was a faithful teacher of Scripture to many. He loved the Bible. He loved to teach.

So what do these two events have in common, besides the hour and day? They hold up for me the joy of leading a responsible, faithful life of service. Both people, who, of course, never met, and one might say, had little in common in terms of background, family or profession, simply worked hard. They prepared thoroughly. They cared about people, all kinds of people. Their dedication reminds us all of the value of lifetimes of diligent, hard work. Ray’s work is complete although his memory, his body of work, his students continue. Justice Sotomayor’s work, some would say, is just beginning. But, in reality her new position is a continuation of the all that she has been every day of her life. In that reality they have much in common. For that reality I give thanks.

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