My friend W.F. Bell has some very worthwhile thoughts on
President Gerald Ford's Funeral. I submit it for your reading.
Those of us who were blessed to witness the telecast of President
Gerald Ford's Funeral, Tuesday, January 2, 2007, saw something
of great historical importance. What a sight to see the leaders of
our nation, both past and present, gathered at the Washington
National Cathedral, at a service highly filled with the singing of
many great Christian hymns, prayers glorifying the Lord Jesus
Christ, and the reading and exaltation of God's Holy Word. It
left me in tears, and deeply grateful that in this land there is still
(even if only in the outward form) the public acknowledgement
that the God of the Bible is "Our Help and Hope."
Let us remind ourselves that we live in a divided nation. Not only
are we divided politically, but also morally and spiritually. Yet,
even with that said, how good to see in this National Service,
that even America can shine as a light to the world. It would
surely be difficult for anyone to not sense and see that the whole
tribute of our government (and granted, primarily of the Ford
family) was decidedly Christian and Christ-focused. For that,
let us truly and humbly thank our gracious Heavenly Father.
Look at what occurred, as the Service unfolded before our eyes:
> God-honoring music of a first-rate caliber, as "O God Our Help
in Ages Past," "The Lord's Prayer," and "Holy, Holy, Holy."
> Statements by former President Bush that the "hand of
Providence" was seen in bringing Gerald Ford into the Presidency,
with a reading of Ecclesiastes 3:1-4, emphasizing that Mr. Ford's
leadership came to the nation in 1974 as "a time of healing."
> Henry Kissinger even acknowledging that Mr. Ford's political
achievements were "providential."
> President Bush stating that Mr. Ford was "a man of character,"
"a great man," and "honest," and that Ford was "a beloved
leader," then wishing the blessings of "Almighty God" upon our
nation and the Ford family.
> Great portions of Holy Scripture were read, such as Isaiah 40:
28-31, Matthew 5:1-11, John 11:25-26, John 14:1-6, Hebrews 13:
20-21, and James 1:19-25 (the first and last of these being read
by members of the family).
Now look at our divided nation (in sad contrast to the above):
> Some of the very Congressmen and Supreme Court Judges in
attendance argue against the Scripture which was being upheld,
even debating the relevance of the Ten Commandments.
> The meaning and sacredness of marriage continues to be
debated, including gay rights, infanticide, and euthanasia (this
would have been unheard of just two generations ago).
> An awful attitude of intolerance has gripped our nation, where
we are not allowed to stand for absolute truth, but fail to see that
there must never be tolerance of that which is evil.
> Many in our nation glorify sports to an extreme, and Sunday has
become a self-centered pleasure day, or another business day.
> The movie industry belches out cursing and blasphemy against
God to such a degree that it has infected our language in everyday
conversation. Even "ladies" now talk vulgarly in public.
So, these are thoughts on this history-making day, thoughts that
make us "search our hearts," and cause us to "consider our ways."
One America is dark, demonized, degraded, drugged almost to
death. Another America shines with light, glorifies traditional
views of morality, works hard on the farm and in the office, seeks
to honor the Lord Jesus Christ on Sunday and through the week.
How I praise God for what I heard and felt today! I thought the
Funeral of Ronald Reagan in 2004 would never be equaled in its
grandeur and spiritual power, but now this one honoring Gerald
Ford will certainly take an equal place.
May we remind you (and upcoming children) that even though we
may disagree with some of the doctrines and practices of the
Episcopal Church in America (Washington Cathedral is an
Episcopal Church), still we rejoice in the rich history of the Church
of England (Anglican), known in our country as "Episcopalian."
It was this English Church which gave us our King James Bible
(1611), and produced (by God's grace) some of the most Christ-
exalting ministers who ever lived, such as George Whitefield,
John Newton, and J. C. Ryle. Many of our finest Christian hymns
are Anglican in origin. Then, in our own country's history, we have
been blessed to have such God-fearing leaders as Robert E.
Lee, who was Episcopalian. May their tribe increase in our day!
How refreshing to see Presidents, their wives, their families,
leaders of Congress, lawmakers, members of the media, and all
in attendance today at Ford's Funeral, closing the Service with
"Alleluia" on their lips, fulfilling the SCRIPTURE at least in part:
"His name shall endure forever; his name shall be continued as
long as the sun; and men shall be blessed in him; all nations
shall call him blessed" (Psalm 72:17). How we felt the power of
this name anew today: the power and great glory of the worthy
name of our LORD JESUS CHRIST.
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