One had to wonder what it would take to knock the Michael Jackson story off the front pages. The (temporary) answer to that question came earlier this week with the death of Massachusetts senior Senator, Edward Moore Kennedy, at the age of 77.
Born the youngest of nine children to Joseph Sr. and Rose Kennedy, "Teddy" was the last of the four Kennedy brothers and is now survived by his only living sibling, Patricia Kennedy Smith. He was heir to Joe Kennedy's fortune which came from successful investments in movie production, real estate, and liquor. Joe Sr. is rumored to have made a small fortune on bootleg liquor during prohibition, and the fact is that he became one of the very first importers of liquor after the repeal of prohibition. Teddy's Irish Catholic pedigree was impeccable. His maternal grandfather, "Honey Fitz" Fitzgerald was the long time powerful Mayor of Boston.
Joe Sr. who had been appointed Ambassador to the Court of St. James by FDR, had groomed his sons for public service and political office. The eldest, Joe Jr., was killed in action in World War II. The careers and fates of Ted's other brothers, John and Robert are well known. Ted, himself, may well have been on track to serve as President, were it not for his early playboy image and the incident forty years ago at Chappaquiddick resulting in the drowning death of Mary Jo Kopchne. His one run for the highest office in the land fell short when he lost in the Democratic primaries in 1980 to incumbent President Jimmy Carter. After that, Kennedy seemed to be content to settle into his role in the Senate as one of it's most powerful Democratic members.
First elected to fill JFK's vacant Senate seat from Massachusetts in 1962, Ted served 47 years in what has been called, "The World's Most Exclusive Club". Over those four plus decades, more than 300 bills he wrote were signed into law. He truly was one of the great movers and shakers in Washington, DC for a generation. He was the face of most liberal causes in the political arena, and his public endorsement of Barack Obama's candidacy arguably was what helped Obama defeat Senator Hillary Clinton in sewing up the Democratic nomination.
The Kennedy clan is, no doubt, the most powerful political dynasty in the 232 year history of the United States. Few families have basked in the spotlight and had the world wide fame this family has enjoyed. On the other hand, few public families have ever endured more tragedy and public heartache than have the Kennedys.
Edward M. Kennedy was the "patriarch" of the clan since the death of his father in 1969. The highlights of his career are being parlayed in the newspapers, magazines, and on the network and cable news channels. His life and impact are the source of conversation on the talk shows. He has known wealth, privilige, and power. He has known celebrity, public adulation and public humiliation. He has known triumph and tragedy. He has known world and national leaders, and has truly been known as one of the post influential men to have ever served in the U.S. Senate.
Now, after 77 years, he is gone. He has kept an appointment that each of us will keep one day. As the Bible puts it, he now "sleeps with his fathers". He knew Presidents, Governors, Senators, Congressmen, celebrities, and Kings.
The big question is, "Did he know the Lord?" Did he have a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ?
Do you have such a relationship?
In the final analysis - in light of eternity, that is all that really matters.