The "older generations" in our home watched the funeral service of President Gerald R. Ford this morning. It had been quite awhile since I'd watched a state funeral (my mother-in-law had watched Regan's funeral which I myself could not bring myself to watch). I do love the National Cathedrial and I must confess that I find myself longing for a "high church" fix every now and then. Even progressive Christians like litany and traditional hymns sometimes. There is nothing like a good chorus of O God Our Help in Ages Past to make you feel comforted and full of hope. (I know, it's not really a great progressive Christian hymn. But sometimes I hate to throw out the baby with the bathwater when it comes to "theological correctness".
In the course of the remarks this morning we came to find that Ford was not only a progressive Episcopalian, but also somewhat of a progressive Christian. Ford's Episcopalian faith matured and transformed over the years as did Jimmy Carter's. I would loved to have been a fly on the wall during some of their discussions over the years. It is Carter who Ford chose to speak at his eulogy in Grand Rapids tomorrow.
Here is the Epistle that presumably Ford chose to be read today (it appears that he did funeral preplanning from the remarks of a few of the participants). I wonder that by choosing this particular passage he was not speaking to all the politicos in the audience--including the television audience:
James 1 19-25
You must understand this, my beloved; let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; for your anger does not produce God's righteousness. Therefore rid yourself of all sordidness and rank growth of wickedness, and welcome with meekness the implanted word that has the power to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves. For if any are hearers of the word and not doers, they are like those who look at themselves and , on going away, immediately forget what they were like. But those who look into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and persevere, being not hearers who forget but doers who act--they will be blessed in their doing.