January 19, 2015, Prescott- This morning was taken up with a short march from Prescott College, to a circumambulation of the Yavapai County Courthouse, then to a nearby Methodist Church. At the church, there were bagels (“California-style”, which means untoasted), cream cheese and assorted fruit, with choice of hot beverages. We then enjoyed a fine performance by the St. Luke’s Ebony Christian Church Choir, from Prescott Valley, and an address by their pastor, Reverend Michael Cannon. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s brief life of intense public service is the impetus for this day being held up as a National Day of Service, and Mr. Cannon’s admonition was for each of us to examine our own commitments. He himself sounds like a man who lives each day in such commitment, judging from the accounts of others.
I have committed myself to acts of service to others, for some time. Many of these are part of an organized effort. Others are spontaneous and random, as a given day unfolds. I don’t really see myself as selfish; nor as a hero. Day by day, each of us can serve others, from the unsung acts of a dedicated parent, or caregiver, to the First Responder working to bring peace to a disastrous scenario.
There is one thing about service, though, that needs to be borne in mind. It cannot be forced, nor can it be smudged by those who impose the pain of guilt on others. Last night, several of us were given an indirect message that we were not doing enough to ease the plight of the homeless, and of a few shut-ins who live in a nearby community. My reaction is, there is always more to be done, in a suffering world. It cannot, however, be imposed upon us from the masters of guilt. I trust that everyone who has good in their hearts will work, in some way, to relieve the suffering of those around them. So it shall ever be.