***image1***Lord, today we follow the military tradition of honoring a fallen president, our 40th president of the United States, the man who said, “You can tell a lot about a fellow’s character by his way of eating jellybeans,” Ronald Wilson Reagan. Athlete, actor, broadcaster, Reservist, Army Air Force officer, president, American; these are but a few of the vast accomplishments of our past commander-in-chief. But his activities are not why we commend him to your care this day.
We commend him for his commitment to you and to America. He stood for the values of family, work, neighborhood, peace and freedom; the values for which we risk our lives every day. He demonstrated grace and wit while recovering from an assassin’s bullet and gave us the longest recorded period of peacetime prosperity the United States has ever seen. But Lord, it was his deep spiritual conviction that we prize most highly.
President Reagan recognized something special about your relationship to America when he said, “America has begun a spiritual reawakening. Faith and hope are being restored. Americans are turning back to God. … And I do believe that God has begun to heal our blessed land.” So, we commend with honor, your servant, Ronald Reagan, to your eternal care. We pray for Nancy and their family, that they may be comforted. And we would do well to listen to his admonition regarding that fragile commodity called freedom, when he said, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where people were free.” It is our job to protect this freedom.
Lord, help us to stand firm in our convictions. Amen.