We have spent the last week reflecting on the passing of President George Herbert Walker Bush. In particular I appreciated the “Christ –Centered” focus and the traditional liturgical worship of the Episcopal Church. Over the last couple of decades I have drifted more toward contemporary music when it comes to worship. It was nice to hear the traditional hymns. It took me back to my roots growing up at St. James Lutheran Church in Grosse Pointe, Michigan and my early ministry years at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Downers Grove, Illinois.
It is well known that President Bush #41 did not like the “L Word.” Yet, there is no doubt that he did leave a legacy. When you watched, and listened to his friends and family you could see the imprint he had left on their lives. I suspect some of his disdain for the “L” word is rooted in the fact that it implies that our earthy mission is accomplished. If we humbly believe it is God’s desire that we live each day as his disciples, our mission is not accomplished until we take our last breath. Only then will others have a full view of our lives. Those who follow us will define our legacy.
With that in mind, here are some things I have learned from President George Herbert Walker Bush.
Love your enemies. President Bush gained a reputation for being able to work with people who disagreed with him and perhaps even disliked him. I need to do a better job of building bridges rather than walls.
The expedient thing is not always the right thing. He had promised, “no more taxes” but when it was clear that raising taxes was the best option he went ahead fully knowing it might cost him an election.
Learn to laugh at yourself. POTUS 41 did have some quirky mannerisms. No one capitalized on them more than comedian Dana Carvey. Instead of ignoring or even criticizing those who poked fun at him, he embraced them. He and Dana Carvey had a great friendship.
Embrace the hope that we have in Jesus. George H. W. Bush knew his Savior. He believed that Jesus had died for his sins and rose again from the dead. He looked forward to the eternal reunion that awaits those who die in the Lord.
Rest in peace George Herbert Walker Bush. Mission accomplished.