Trinity 16 2010 – Homily


Homily by Rev. Mason T. Beecroft, 09/19/2010

In the summer of 1990, I interned with the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office. Clackamas County is large, stretching from east Portland to Mt. Hood. The first part of my internship involved riding on patrol with a deputy named Bill. He worked swing shifts from four in the afternoon until two in the morning. I spent two months with him. When you sit in a car with someone for that long and at those hours, you to get to know a person well. We quickly became friends and enjoyed our time, sharing a good number of laughs. Now Bill worked quite a bit of traffic, and took more DUI’s than any other deputy in the county. In his time there, he had also seen some remarkably horrific accidents. From time to time, as he patrolled, he would mention to me a wreck that had taken place at this place or another. At the time, I had never seen a dead person other than at a funeral. Once he learned that fact, he made it his personal mission to get me to a fatal accident. He thought it was important. And, of course, I was curious. One night a call came over the radio at the end of the shift. There was a fatal accident on 224 on a stretch of highway called the Carver Curves. We responded. Bill wanted me to see a fatality. As we pulled up to the scene, we noticed the car had taken on an electrical pole head-on. The pole and wires were down. The car was totaled and there was a dead man in the driver’s seat. I must admit it was a bit surreal. I sat there looking at this man, who only minutes before was driving home, and now was without life. There was no breath, no heart beat, no nothing. He just sat there, a corpse, slumped in a wrecked car, with sheriff deputies, paramedics, firemen, and a college junior shaking their heads in pity. Drunk, he had collided with an electrical pole, and now was dead, with no apparent hope. And his family was left to mourn this sudden, tragic loss.

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