Billy Graham's Funeral was His Last Crusade

Billy Graham

On Friday, evangelist Billy Graham was laid to rest at the grounds of the Billy Graham Library in North Carolina. The noon service commenced with the evangelist's family bringing in his casket, followed by a renditions of some of Graham's favorite music. Linda McCrary-Fisher's performance of Until Then included the poignant lyric: "My heart will go on singing ... until the day God calls me home."

The service was streamed live online. Neither Pence nor Trump spoke but they met privately with the family beforehand.

The funeral planning began a decade ago with Billy Graham himself. It also reflected his family's desire to capture the feeling of the crusades that made him the world's best-known Protestant preacher of his era. Graham, who died last week at age 99, brought a message of salvation to millions during visits and live broadcasts to scores of countries.

The funeral served as a Billy Graham crusade told through his children. Lotz read Scripture, inserting her name into the passages to make her relationship with God more personal and breaking it down intellectually, like her father. Youngest daughter Ruth told about how she sinned and didn't listen to her father with a hasty marriage, but he was waiting for her with open arms when she realized her mistake.

And oldest son Franklin, now CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, wrapped up with his father's central theme: that the only path to salvation is to accept Jesus Christ.

While Franklin Graham steered clear of politics during his message, the Trumps and Pences were the first guests he welcomed as he began.

And his invitation to be saved by Jesus contained this barb: "The world, with all of its political correctness, would want you to believe that there are many roads to God. It's just not true."

Like Graham's famous crusades, the funeral featured singers who had shared his stage in years past: Linda McCrary-Fisher, Michael W. Smith and the Gaither Vocal Band.

The lineup of clergy and singers from as near as North Carolina and as far away as Asia, was racially diverse - moreso than the mostly white audience.

Other notable guests included television host Kathie Lee Gifford, musician Ricky Skaggs, evangelist Rick Warren and politician Rudy Giuliani. North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper attended, as did his predecessor Pat McCrory.



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