The passing of Edward Moore Kennedy has been quite an event in New England. The pomp and circumstance of the different ceremonies were televised and attended by all the “right” people. Family members and close friends spoke and shared stories of Senator Kennedy, humanizing him and allowing the public to see a snapshot into the private life of a public figure. Finally, he was laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery near his two older brothers. Not only has a family lost a husband, father, grandfather, uncle, etc., but Massachusetts has lost a long-term Senator.
While I am not terribly interested in politics, the many stories shared about Senator Kennedy seem to reveal a man who recognized his role as a senator: a servant of many. In Mark 9:35, Jesus reminds his disciples that, "If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all." As I have observed the outpouring of grief for the loss of Teddy Kennedy and the love and care shown to his family, I have come to the conclusion that Senator Kennedy never forgot his role as a servant of his constituency. He did not perform his duties perfectly, nor was he without his “skeletons” so to speak; but it appears that he worked very hard to fulfill his responsibility as a public servant.
Nevertheless, now that the business of burying the dead has been completed, the competition for his Senate seat is just beginning. The striving and posturing by the various players will be televised for all of us to see; the political rhetoric will drone on without ceasing as each of the contestants promises the sun and moon for our votes. And finally, an election will be held in January that will determine the “winner.” Democracy is the title we have given this form of government and it has served us pretty well for over 200 years. But I will be interested to see if the new person who represents this state in the senate will be able to remember their elected office is that of a public “servant”.