Sunday, November 11, 2007

a great role model I am not always

My Way Sunday
. . . . .
reflections on being a Christian man, part 2

I've found it helpful to look at persons in the Bible for clues about how I should live my life. Assuming I want to be a 'man of God', there are probably some characteristics I need to adopt as my own -that also supposes there are behaviors and characteristics I should avoid.

Job, a personage in the Old Testament writings, seems to me to be a very good model to aspire to imitate. He seems to be helpful in presenting a picture of what a man - a man of God - should look like. I say helpful, but I'm not suggesting it is a complete picture.

The 29th chapter of the Old Testament book named after this man Job, is quite telling.
It says that Job is friends with God.
It says that Job is a respected man of wisdom and authority
It says that Job was a man who could make decisions and take charge of situations.
It says that Job was a man who looked after the welfare of the people in his circle.
It says that Job helped the oppressed, the widows, and the poor.
It says that Job corrected error when it arose.

Are those characteristics and traits of the kind of man I want, or need, to be?

As a man of God, I need to be ever vigilant to be effective in living life in a manner that will not give the Creator a black-eye. I am a reflection of, and an extension of, the Godhead Himself. If my behavior is anything but what it should be, I may be responsible, through example, for turning someone else in the wrong direction.

I could write volumes about those times when I have been just that - a bad example. I hope there are other times when I get it right.

[to be continued next Sunday]
. . . . .
On Thursday of this past week, I and 4 other men traveled 9 hours to the Buffalo NY area to attend a funeral on Friday Morning. The man being buried is the brother of a friend of ours. The deceased could be a role model for many men.

I don't recall ever being at a wake, Funeral Mass, and burial quite like it. This man was well known by many in every social and economic circumstance - top to bottom. The honor guards were several, representing some of the many influences in his life.

There were approximately 25 bikers dressed as you see them on the streets and in the mags from full leather to jeans and vests and regaled with every conceivable emblem and insignia - riding their Harley's in pairs from the funeral home to the church to the cemetery.

There were another 20 or so Emergency Services vehicles from just about every jurisdiction within 50 miles of his home town - first responders, all of them. And law enforcement officers forming an honor guard for the casket from the hearse to the church entrance for his coming and his going.

There was a contingent of approximately 50+ Seneca Indians who live on the reservation adjacent to the deceased's property. He was a full adopted member of the tribe and the Red Eye clan who were listed in his obituary, naming his adoptive parents and siblings.

There was a group of American Veterans of his Viet Nam War era.
There was a special Naval Honor Guard, providing the flag ceremonies and bugler at the cemetery.
There was a 'flyover' of Emergency Services helicopters at the conclusion of the graveside services.
There were elected officials and government employees.
There were citizens of his home town, where he had served as Mayor for more than one term.
There were relatives from all over who made the trip to honor this wonderful man.
There was his family friend, who was also his personal confessor and Chaplain for the Emergency Services department of the County in which the deceased had served as Director and Commissioner of Emergency Services for many years, and who celebrated the Funeral Mass.
There were friends of friends, and people who had been the recipient of his generosity, and people who had disagreements with the things he did, and others for whom he was the peacemaker, and those for whom he helped bring consensus when no one else seemed to be able to get that done.

And he was GOD's man. He and his life of example showed others the way to God. The way he suffered the past year and a half, and died while praying the rosary with family and friends at his side, all spoke volumes. He has joined that 'cloud of witnesses' of whom scripture speaks.

Please offer a prayer of thanksgiving with me for this dear brother in the Lord, Michael Walters, former Commissioner of Emergency Services for Erie County [Buffalo] NY. May his soul rest in Peace.
. . . . .


Melody K said...

I'm praying for him and his loved ones. I'm sure the example he set will live after him.

Justin said...

Jim, thanks so much for this summary of the events! It was great seeing you and other Muncie brothers there, as well as your son! It sure meant a lot to my Dad and all of our relatives. I too was blown away by the sheer expanse of his impact... stuff I had heard about over the years, but never quite this fully grasped.

Adrienne said...

That was a nice thing you did - giving up your time to travel to the funeral.

And as to Job --- well, IMHO, you have a pretty good start on being the type of man you want to be.