Special Funeral Service Given to Evangelist Billy Graham
By Mei Manuel, March 03, 2018 03:03 AM
On Friday, a very solemn and emotional funeral service was given to the Evangelist of the World Billy Graham as he was laid to rest in the grounds of his library in Charlotte, New Carolina.
The funeral service was an invitation-only service for 2,000 people and attended by important figures such as US President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.
The service began with a procession where the evangelist's coffin - made from pine plywood by the inmates of the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola - was brought in the grounds of the Billy Graham Library. Graham's friends from the music industry such as Linda McCrary-Fisher and the Gaither Vocal Band were also there to sing.
Reverend David Bruce began the service, reading the words from Scripture 'I know that my Redeemer liveth', and he was followed by pastor Reverend Donald Wilton, who talked about how important the Bible is for Graham and read Ephisians 2:4-9 which spoke about 'God, who is rich in mercy' and He who made us alive with Christ.
Several tributes were paid to the late evangelist, beginning with his surviving sister Jean Graham Ford. She spoke about how much she loved her brother and shared 'I was reminded, when I heard my brother died, of the hymn we used to sing, heaven came down and filled my soul with glory. One day, heaven will come down and take me.'
Graham's eldest daughter, Gigi Graham, also spoke in the eulogy, quoting a poem written by her mother, Ruth Bell, when she was 13 and praying for her future husband. She also said she is happy that God has brought her parents back together for eternity.
Anne Graham Lotz added to what her sister said about their parents, sharing how her mother taught her to love the Bible and how her father helped her understand it. She then added that as she got older, her father would ask her to read from the Bible and give him a 'full, 60-minute message' to see how well she understood it. She further added that his death was as 'significant as his live' because the day of his death, February 21st, is the same day the Jews focused on the death of Moses. She likened her father to that of Moses, who was a great liberator. She also read a passage from 1 Corinthians 15.
Ruth Graham started her testimony, speaking about her failed marriage, and shared how her father assisted her to recover and how he welcomed her home.
Finally, Reverend Ned Graham said that his father was 'faithful, available and teachable' and thanked the congregation for their support and presence.
Friends of the late evangelist also paid tribute to their friend such as Reverend Sami Dagher from Lebanon, who spoke about how Graham made a difference in the Middle East with his example, and Reverend Billy Kim from South Korea, who shared how Graham changed not just his life, but also the millions who listened to his teachings.
Graham's son, Reverend Franklin Graham, gave the address for the service, speaking about their parents' love and how Ruth Bell-Graham's death left a 'big hole' in the evangelist's heart.
'The Billy Graham that the world saw on television, the Billy Graham that the world saw in the big stadiums, was the same Billy Graham we saw at home,' he said. 'All of us children came to see the world and our father in heaven through my father's eyes.'
He recalled his father's voice, 'booming, proclaiming the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ'.
He further spoke how his father slowly became 'quiet' in his remaining years, noting that his mind was in heaven and now, he is finally in the presence of God.
He continued: 'My father believed in heaven, he also believed in hell. Hell is reserved for the wicked for those who refuse to repent of their sins and acknowledge Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour.'
He urged the congregation to trust in Christ for salvation, saying that now is the time to trust Christ.
The service concluded with the singing of another crusade hymn, To God be the glory and a benediction given by Rev George Battle. A piper in full Highland dress played hymns including Amazing Grace and I will sing the wondrous story.
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