A Sermon Delivered by The Reverend Joseph C. Alsay
For the Funeral of Anthony Caminos
When we look all around us at the landscape it seems to say that all is dead. The Advent shades of midnight blue and purple testify to the fact that creation has hunkered down for long winter’s nap.
Creation is asleep.
The dark comes early and stays late into the morning. The air changes from crisp to frozen; the falling leaves will soon be falling snow. We like the ancients before us look for consolation and reassurance that things will come alive again. Here in this time of cold and dark we wait for the news that we are NOT on a timeline heading off to where we know not; but that things will come around again, the light and warmth will return.
No matter the twinkling lights and the glitter in the malls, the darkness is out there all around us.
That is what these four weeks before Christmas are all about.
A time of waiting and expectation.
The Church calls this time and season of the year Advent. A time when we wait to celebrate the coming birth of the Christ Child but, long for the coming of the one who is King of kings and Lord of lords.
Our First Reading form the Book of Isaiah – a favorite during this time of the year paints a vivid picture of a people who are bereft of hope. Living through the long, hard and cold winter of existence after they have suffered the atrocities of war and captivity under the Babylonian oppressive rule. They were sure God had forgotten them as they stumbled in a sense of spiritual darkness. Everything seems to be coming apart at the wheels and in the midst of this mess a message of hope rings forth like a clarion call. Comfort, O Comfort my people says your God. These words speak to us as they did for those people who experienced great shame and uncertainty almost 3,000 years ago.
Our beloved brother Anthony M. Cominos also knew something of the atrocities of war. He knew first-hand what it was like to suffer long and stumble through the pain of the winter days of life longing for release and resurrection. Anthony, like so many was in an “Advent” period a time of waiting and expectancy for what has yet to be reveal to all mortal flesh. For just as we are counting off the days and hurriedly preparing for the gift of comfort, of experiencing once again how God claims us as God’s own through the child born on Christmas morn. So too did Anthony prepare for and engage in what is truly important not only in this life but the one to come.
It was Lt. Colonel Cominos’ LOYALTY to friends that caused him to serve his country valiantly for 21 years first as a Merchant Marine during WWII, then as a pilot in the Korean War and two tours as a pilot in Vietnam ultimately retiring with over eight thousand flying hours, numerous awards including a Bronze Star, Vietnam Service Medal with 2 service stars, National Defense Service Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster, United Nations Medal, Korean War Service Medal six overseas bars and the list goes on and on.
It was Anthony’s LOVE for family that enabled him to be married for 47 years to his beloved spouse Cola Jean who he remembered every Sunday during the Prayers of the People and raise two daughters, Cassandra & Pam.
It was Tony’s LIVED out faith that caused him to be gentle of spirit, humble in service, and kind in mannerism. It mattered not whether he was on the golf field exhibiting that perfect swing, working as an insurance agent or real estate broker or serving as a Lay Eucharistic Minister, Lector or Usher here at St. Andrew’s Lawton or St. Augustine in OKC.
What a wonderful example of Loyalty and Love for not only family, friends and country, but more importantly a Lived out faith in God. It is a faith in this God who came to us as a babe, bringing hope to the hopeless; rest to the restless; and life to the lifeless that Tony desperately clung onto and gave him strength to meet the days ahead no matter how dark or cold they might be with a firm resolve unfettered faith.
Indeed, it is because of that strong and abiding faith we can commend Tony into the loving care and keeping of the God whom he loved and served. The God whom St. Paul reminds us in that 15th chapter of I Corinthians “Will raise us up on the last day in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.”
Those of us who go to the cemetery will once again witness the pomp and pageantry of the military rites and here the stately notes of the bugler. I am reminded of the story told of when Sir Winston Churchill was planning his own state funeral. It is said that he requested that there be two buglers positioned at the opposite ends of the vast dome of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. They were given instructions that when one bugler had finished playing taps – that song of farewell another bugler was to respond to the dying notes of that sorrowful song with Revere – that song of Good morning, wake up to the rising of a new day.
My friends, on Tuesday morning our beloved Anthony went to sleep and slipped the surely bonds of earth and touched the face of God; and joined the countless hosts of others who have heard the clarion call of that faithful fanfare blast. A blast that shouts - - - Revere: “Good morning, wake up to the rising of a new day.
Wake up, to see the angels spread their whimsical wings.
Wake up, to greet his parents and his beloved Cola Jean once again,
Wake up, to see the Jesus who died and rose again for Tony’s sake.
Wake up, to experience first-hand what the birth that place on Christmas was about.
For Christ was born this! Christ was born to save!
~Fr. Joseph Alsay, St. Augustine of Canterbury Episcopal Church