Final Graham funeral hymn had special meaning
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Rev. Billy Graham was laid to rest Friday, March 2, in a service attended by President Donald Trump, among other dignitaries.
The final hymn of the funeral had special meaning for the evangelist, his friends and loved ones.
The audience sang "To God Be the Glory," which was also the closing hymn at the 2007 dedication of his library in Charlotte.
Graham's late music director Cliff Barrows, who helped Graham plan the funeral service starting a decade ago, has said it was his favorite hymn.
After the hymn, Graham's casket was led out of the tent while a bagpiper played "Amazing Grace."
Another of Graham's favorite hymns, "Because He Lives" was performed by the Gaither Vocal Band during the service. It has been featured on Billy Graham musical compilations.
Gospel singers Michael W. Smith and Linda McCrary-Fisher also performed. The three performers are veterans of Graham's crusades and events, and were friends of his.
Graham's son, Franklin, delivered the main funeral message, saying that the famous evangelist was the same at home as he appeared to millions around the world.
He said that, "the Billy Graham that the world saw on television, the Billy Graham that the world saw in the big stadium was the same Billy Graham that we saw at home."
"There weren't two Billy Grahams,” he said, adding that his father believed in Heaven and has now gone on the journey that he'd been "looking forward to all of his life."
Franklin Graham now leads his father's evangelistic association and the relief agency Samaritan's Purse. He spoke from a podium used by his father for crusades in the 1990s.
His main address followed shorter messages from his four siblings and his aunt.
Graham's adult children also delivered personal messages.
Four of his children spoke near the beginning of the service, which was at the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Anne Graham Lotz said that she believes God is sending a message by bringing Graham to Heaven.
Lotz said: "I believe God is saying: 'Wake up church! Wake up world!'"