This weekend I will be interring the ashes of two friends from some years ago. They were a lovely couple from a previous parish who died within months of one another; we are having a joint memorial for them tomorrow at the cathedral. In the obituary of the husband I saw that he wished memorials be made to the Billy Graham Ministry Foundation. I found this touching because I recall watching the crusades as a child, channel surfing between the wide world of Disney and the Osmonds and Fat Albert and all of the 70’s shows of three channel television in a small town.
Later in life I read the biography of Billy Graham, and with the advent of You Tube I have watched all of the messages that I can find. I find that Billy Graham is a gifted communicator – earnest, funny, at ease, and deeply passionate about the Gospel. Something, or someone, made thousands and thousands of people run across all of those football fields; watching Graham I wonder if I would have been one of them.
Sometimes I feel like the person who has to run the full 100 yards to the goal line; sometimes I feel there are only inches to the goal line, but the defense is raining chaos down upon me. Most days are simply filled with checking the sidelines for directions, listening in the huddle, and then struggling to hear the quarter-back. The goal is simply to fall forward – every day to fall forward toward the goal line.
I also discovered that Graham held a long friendship with John Stott, the Anglican minister from All Soul’s Langham in London, who some called the Protestant pope for a season. Both Stott’s and Graham’s ministries shaped the souls that I serve, and I am profoundly grateful to them. Do yourself a favor and look up Stott and Graham during your cyber-devotionals and hear the words of grace.
One of the great moments in 20th Century pop culture: