Remembering President Reagan
"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever."1
On Friday, June 11, 2004 as we all know, the 40th President of the United States, President Ronald Wilson Reagan, was laid to rest. In the nation's capital it was an overcast drizzly day that seemed as if Heaven was shedding tears with the nation whose outpouring of love for former President Reagan was an extremely moving experience. Following the state Memorial Service in the Washington National Cathedral, which was filled with dignitaries from many countries, four living ex-presidents, and friends, the former President, Mrs. Reagan, and family, flew back to California to thousands of mourners lining the streets wanting to catch one last glimpse of a leader they greatly admired and a man they deeply loved. Above was a cloudless sky and a smiling sun in the Golden State that Ronald Reagan loved dearly and called his home.
At the grave-side service at the Reagan Memorial Library set on a hill overlooking some of the majestic California mountains, the Air Force Band and the Army Choir were playing and singing, I presume, some of the former President's favorite songs, not only "Hail to the Chief," and "America the Beautiful" but old-time hymns that were of great significance such as "Just as I am, and waiting not to rid my soul of one dark blot, to Thee whose blood can cleanse each spot, O Lamb of God, I come, I come." And "Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling, calling for you and for me … Calling, O sinner, come home."
These grand hymns of the Christian faith, with the testimony of son Michael Reagan regarding his father's faith and trust in Jesus Christ, was a bright, shining light shattering for at least a brief moment of time the ever-increasing and lengthening shadow of an insidious spiritual darkness that is currently reaching across the American nation. President Reagan talked of the evil of Communism and helped end its tyranny and the cold war. But that was an enemy without—and as another said—an enemy that wore a uniform and could be recognized.
The evil enemy today, however, dwells among us and wears no uniform. It is seen, not only in the evil of fanatical religiously motivated terrorism, but in an ever-increasing force that rears its ugly head and is heard in the voice of radical left-wing judges who defy the vote of Congress, the vote of the Senate, and the will of the President. It is seen in the demands of vocal minorities who are seeking to destroy marriage and the family as God designed it; in the vote of politicians who allow innocent babies to be murdered; in the continual flow of words published by certain media, and in the attitude of all who join them in their determination to get rid of every vestige of Christianity, Christian prayer, God's Word, and God's name from every area of the public arena. One wonders what their home-going will be like. What a contrast to those who have faithfully trusted and served God, whose names are written in God's Book of Life.
For example, if you listen with your heart you can hear the Lord's welcome home to Ronald Wilson Reagan with the words, "Well done, good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Lord."
And you can imagine hearing the angelic choir singing, not only for Ronald, but also for you and me. Let's join with them in our prayer for today: "Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling, Calling for you and for me; See, on the portals He's waiting and watching, Watching for you and for me. O for the wonderful love he has promised, Promised for you and for me; Though we have sinned, He has mercy and pardon, Pardon for you and for me … Come home, come home, Ye who are weary come home; Earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling, Calling, O sinner, come home!"2
NOTE: If you have never "come home" to Jesus and accepted God's gift of forgiveness and his promise of eternal life to be with him in heaven forever, why not do that today. To help you do this click on the link to God's Invitation at: http://www.actsweb.org/invitation.php.
1. Psalm 23:4, 6 (NIV).
2. Will L. Thompson (1847-1909).