I watched most of the funeral of President Gerald Ford today. It was deeply moving to me personally. The service was conducted with dignity and deep respect for the Christian faith and historic and liturgical practice. I felt that both President George H. W. Bush and President George W. Bush were superb in their comments but Tom Brokaw, as he has done for me in the past, moved me deeply. He spoke with unusual eloquence and grace. What happened to national news reporters and anchors like him? He loves his country, appreciates the graces of other people, and speaks with a rare beauty.
I saw Tom Brokaw in person at the Lincoln Day address at the Gettysburg Cemetery a few weeks ago. I carefully watched him greet ordinary people and speak with impressive gravitas in the windy, cold outdoors to a crowd of maybe 1,500. He was very impressive to me that day and my only regret was that his speech was not made available in some form following that November 19th event.
I was particularly moved this morning by the rich and theologically solid liturgy of the Ford funeral service. The music was magnificent; e.g. "Faith of Our Fathers," "Holy, Holy, Holy," etc. I love almost all kinds of music but nothing moves the human mind and soul quite like these great old hymns for articulating and expressing solid Christian conviction with the dignity that is appropriate to a funeral. The Scriptures and prayers followed a standard Anglican liturgy and were thus heavily laced with orthodox expressions. It was a marvelous opportunity for millions to hear the great truths of historic Christian faith and it provided a fitting benediction upon the life of this humble "man of the people."