My wife and I were deeply touched as we watched the ceremony when the casket of the Reverend Billy Graham arrived at the United States Capitol Rotunda. The Leader of the Senate, Mitch McConnell, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Paul Ryan, as well as the President of the United States of America, Donald Trump presented the gospel message so clearly as they remembered the life of Billy Graham. They talked about the way Billy Graham and the gospel he preached impacted them personally. President Trump recalled that day in New York when his father, Fred Trump, took him and his mother to a Billy Graham crusade. “Americans came in droves to hear that great young preacher,” said the President. “Fred Trump was a big fan.” The Chaplain of the United States Senate, Barry C. Black, concluded the ceremony “in the name of Billy Graham’s best friend, Jesus Christ.”
We are all aware of the secular world in which we live. During the Middle Ages Europe was the heart of Christendom. Today, according to Gallup, weekly church attendance in France and Germany is below 10%, while attendance in Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and the United Kingdom is between 10% and 15% of citizens. The constitution of the European Union does not acknowledge the role of God and of Christianity in the formation of Europe and just vaguely mentions Europe’s “religious heritage.”
Although Gallup reported in 2013 that 4 out of 10 Americans confirmed that they had attended religious services during the last seven days, Eric Metaxas and Os Guinness (among others) warned Americans that they can lose their freedom if they lose the religious foundation of a virtuous life.
It is within this context that the ceremony in the United States Capitol Rotunda has such a profound prophetic meaning. Reverend Graham is only the fourth private citizen honored in this way. During his life, Billy Graham preached 417 crusades in 185 countries. In his death, the gospel message sounds loud and clear as the leaders of the largest country of the free world bow their heads in prayer to God Almighty. The Senate, House of Representatives and executive branch honored the Reverend Graham by placing wreaths next to the casket.
In his book, Global Awakening: How 20th-Century Revivals Triggered a Christian Revolution, Mark Shaw describes how Billy Graham’s ministry led to one of the great revivals of the century. Let us pray, dear Friends, that the events following his death will be the beginning of a mighty outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the United States of America, and all over the world.
- Please share with us how the death of Billy Graham impacts you. I think of attending his crusade in Johannesburg, South Africa, with my dad many years ago.
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